Director Vs Senior Manager

Jan 05, 2018

Corporate directors serve on executive boards, while senior managers determine how to allocate resources. Learn more about their duties, degree requirements, salaries, and job outlooks.

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Comparing Directors to Senior Managers

Directors offer executive leadership for a company, though they may not be official or regular employees. Senior managers, however, work with their employees regularly and establish new managing techniques. Get more details on the similarities and differences below.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Directors Bachelor's Degree $74,321 (Executive Director) 8% (Top Executives)
Senior Managers Bachelor's Degree $123,251 9% (General and Operations Managers)

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

Responsibilities of Directors vs. Senior Managers

Directors and senior managers formulate company or department policy, though directors work with other board members. Directors may not be involved in the daily activities of the company, though they maintain knowledge of the programs in which the business is currently involved. Senior managers, however, are in the thick of daily operations to maintain the workflow efficiency. Additionally, many senior managers specialize in a single field, such as technology or hotel hospitality, while directors are typically executive leaders of various types of organizations.


Directors work in groups to establish a company's mission and values before it even gets off the ground. Each director assists in selecting a chief executive officer (CEO) to run the company on a regular basis. They also set board member policies and company objectives that presidents and CEOs strive to meet. Once the company is established, directors stand behind its brand and products. This means gaining support from shareholders for new projects and programs aimed at financial growth for the company. Directors may be the face of the company when dealing with the public reputation and brand building.

Job responsibilities of a director include:

  • Staying involved in legal concerns, including those necessary to start a company
  • Finding stakeholders and finances to support company processes and activities
  • Approving spending and budget allocations across the organization
  • Prioritizing certain programs when establishing annual spending

Senior Managers

Senior managers work in a variety of fields and direct the day-to-day operations of an organization. One of their main responsibilities is to allocate finances and human resources to different projects and departments so corporate goals can be met. They also ensure positions are filled by the most competent and skilled employees. When working in advertising, senior managers supervise the marketing strategies for sales and brand awareness, including finding new media outlets like social media. When working in production, they may head the quality control department and ensure the standards for high-quality products are being met by developing testing methods and specification documents.

Job responsibilities of a senior manager include:

  • Behaving as models for the ethical behavior and values within the company
  • Measuring the productivity of employees
  • Offering ongoing professional development training for all employees
  • Designing the infrastructure of the company, including the technology, so workflow is efficient

Related Careers

Because you seem curious about a career as a director, you may also research a job as a chief executive officer, because both lend strategy expertise to a company. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in a position as a senior manager, you could look into a future as a director of operations, especially because both oversee the efficient workflow of a business.

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