The term General Secretary (alternatively First Secretary) denotes a leader of various unions, parties or associations. The most notable usages are the following.
- The General Secretary (or First Secretary) may also be the title used by the head of a political party or group. This meaning is often associated with Communist organizations. However, in some Communist parties such as the Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong, the highest position was that of Party Chairman though in other Communist parties this was a titular position. Both Communist party positions are chosen by the Politburo.
- The General Secretary may also be the head of a trade union, particularly in Britain or another association such as a federation of agriculture or farmer's union or a co-operative.
The General Secretary's office or department is often referred to as the Secretariat.