Director Vs Manager Vs Supervisor

Oct 18, 2019

A director, manager and supervisor are all management roles that drive business goals. Though their roles can be similar and overlap in certain ways, their differences are in the style of management as well as who and what each role manages.

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Comparing Job Roles of a Director, Manager and Supervisor

While a director, manager and supervisor all have authoritative roles, these roles differ greatly in key ways. The scale at which each level of management operates differs greatly as directors typically oversee managers, and managers oversee supervisors, who then look after individual employees. Of the three roles, a director is normally the highest level of management whereas a supervisor is the lowest.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Director Bachelor's Degree $97,115 (business director) 6% (top executives)
Manager Bachelor's Degree $65,948 (business manager) 7% (administrative services managers)
Supervisor High School Diploma $54,947 (sales support supervisor) -1% (first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Different Responsibilities of Directors, Managers and Supervisors

Directors, managers and supervisors are all necessary roles in an organization, as they ensure that policies are implemented and employees are doing their jobs. Supervisors are responsible for more internal management whereas managers look after a wider scope of both external and internal. Managers are responsible for making more significant decisions and commitments regarding roles, resources, etc. The supervisor is the one who will work to implement these decisions and achieve unity and cooperation among employees while usually working alongside their subordinates. Managers and directors rarely perform the same tasks as subordinate employees, since they are on a higher level of management. Directors operate on an even higher level of management than managers. They are responsible for keeping the managers on track and making sure they adhere to the principles of the business. Ultimately, directors create and define the goals and strategies of the company to ensure its success.

Directors

The work of a director within a company is instrumental to the company's overall success. This is because directors are there to create strategies to meet goals and also help implement these strategies with top level management. They may also analyze data to predict trends, oversee budgets/finances and negotiate contracts and agreements for the business.

Job responsibilities of a director include:

  • Ensuring the prosperity and long-term growth of the organization
  • Determining values and overall mission for the company
  • Protecting the reputation of the company and creating strategies to minimize risk
  • Accountability to shareholders for the performance of the organization

Managers

There are many different types of managers though their duties usually consist of the same types of tasks. Managers can focus on delegating tasks and improving existing procedures, as well as setting goals and deadlines for specific tasks within their units. While overseeing their department, they are responsible for ensuring employees have what they need to succeed in the long-term.

Job responsibilities of a manager include:

  • Implementing the decisions made by directors
  • Making decisions regarding company resources, expenses and employee roles
  • Communicating with other levels of management to ensure cohesiveness
  • Resolving difficult problems facing the department or unit

Supervisors

Supervisors are usually team leaders within a department. They supervise their department on a more intimate level and may delegate tasks and address issues when necessary. It is their responsibility to report back to the manager of the department.

Job responsibilities of a supervisor include:

  • Applying the decisions of management and overseeing the team
  • Delegating tasks to employees and managing workload
  • Addressing immediate issues of employees
  • Reporting issues and challenges to managers

Related Careers

Directors, managers and even supervisors typically have many options and opportunities to choose from should they wish to consider an alternate career path. They might pursue analyst positions or various types of executive and management spots, such as the following.

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