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Administrator Vs Manager Vs Director

Oct 01, 2019

Understanding the distinctions between administrators, managers, and directors can be confusing. Knowledge of the specific roles tied to each of these titles can help alleviate the confusion and make sense of business jargon.

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Comparing Administrators, Managers, and Directors

The titles of administrators, managers, and directors are used somewhat interchangeably in different contexts. One company may hire an administrative director to allot resources and oversee groups of managers, while another company may have a director who manages groups of administrators. However, there are typically key differences in the expected roles that go along with these three titles:

Job Title Education Requirements Average Salary (2019)
Administrator Master's in Business Administration (MBA) $52,721
Manager Bachelor's degree or relevant experience $63,553 (for general/ operations managers)
Director Master's in Business Administration (MBA) $96,613

Source: PayScale.com

Responsibilities of Administrators, Managers, and Directors

The basic difference between these three roles is that managers oversee groups of employees, administrators oversee resources, and directors oversee groups of administrators and managers. An administrator develops policies and strategies to ensure that their company reaches its goals. Business managers implement the vision and strategy set forth by their administrators. Directors monitor the work of managers and administrators.

Administrator

An administrator makes decisions about how to best use a company's resources to increase profits. Administrators should have great attention-to-detail and problem solving skills as they monitor a company's use of resources and find ways to improve productivity and outcomes. They use their research to develop new strategies and implement company-wide policies. Administrators generally work regular 8-5 hours in work in an office setting. They may have opportunities to advance up the corporate ladder to become directors, regional managers, and eventually top-level executives.

Job responsibilities of an administrator include:

  • Ensuring that company goals are met on-time
  • Creating, evaluating, and reviewing budget proposals
  • Distributing resources to management teams
  • Recommending hiring and firing of employees to the director
  • Creating policy recommendations and present them to upper-level executives

Manager

Business managers oversee a small team in a variety of settings, from the employees of a fast food restaurant to the marketing branch of a financial firm. They are responsible for all of the day-to-day operations and management of their team, thus they must have great communication, leadership, conflict resolution, and organizational skills. Depending on their industry, a business manager might run from floor to floor of a factory, be on their feet all day running a small business, or have a sedentary job in an office. Successful managers may have opportunities to climb the corporate ladder to positions in directing or administration.

Job responsibilities of a manager include:

  • Creating work schedules for their team
  • Implementing company-wide policies given to them by directors and upper-management
  • Testing ways to improve the efficiency and performance of their team
  • Resolving conflicts among team members
  • Monitoring financial documents and run the payroll
  • Reporting on their team's success to upper-level management

Director

Directors must have strong leadership and interpersonal skills, as they are the top managers for an entire company. Since they oversee administrative and management teams, they must have a good understanding of how various teams within a company function (finance, marketing, sales, human resources, etc). Successful directors can continue on to become chief officers or even vice president of a department.

Job responsibilities of a director include:

  • Developing long-term strategies and goals for their company
  • Monitoring a company's budget and finances
  • Acting as the outward face of the company and establish relationships with industry leaders
  • Designing, analyzing and regulating company-wide policies to increase profits
  • Hiring and firing personnel

Related Careers

If you enjoy the challenges that come with administrative work, consider a position as a system administrator. If you are more interested in management roles, look into becoming a growth manager. Or if you prefer to work as a director, consider a position as director of operational management where you can use your leadership and interpersonal skills well.

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