Supervisor vs Manager - Definition, Key Differences

What's the difference between a supervisor and a manager? Managers and supervisors both have leadership roles inside a company. Managers usually have a more strategic role in a business, making decisions, creating objectives, and monitoring a team's progress, whereas supervisors are responsible for administering duties and ensuring they are completed properly and on time.

supervisor vs manager

What is a managerial position?

Managerial positions are those in which an individual supervises the work duties of another individual or group of individuals. Managers can also be responsible for the functioning of a certain function inside a business. A financial manager, for example, can supervise a team of six accountants, but a production manager can supervise automated assembly lines.

Managers frequently have a variety of duties linked to other workers and operational processes, and they contribute to the development of corporate goals, the creation of policies, and the leadership of company activities.

supervisor vs manager

What function do they play?

When new employees are still learning their jobs or when the department's workload is very heavy, the supervisor frequently steps in to help keep production going. Additionally, she has role-specific responsibilities, such as monitoring what each person is working on, how much work they have accomplished, and their overall job performance.

They generally have more in-depth knowledge of company policies and direction.

What is a manager?

A manager is someone who takes critical choices affecting all aspects of a business's operations. They describe the rationale for their choice, as well as the workers and the activities they must do to assure job completion.

They determine the number of resources required and assign them to each department in order to accomplish their objectives.

Managers can have the following responsibilities:

  • Organizing the management structure of the business in order to improve workflow, communication, and performance.
  • Assisting the human resources department in identifying, interviewing, and hiring candidates.
  • Instructing staff while adhering to the company's employee handbook requirements.
  • Organizing chances for all workers to participate in training and professional development.
  • Evaluating employee performance via the use of a performance management system and setting quarterly goals for workers.
  • Assigning duties to workers and providing frequent feedback on their performance.
  • Providing workers with work schedules and making changes for vacation, paid time off, and emergencies.
  • Employee communication via one-on-one and team meetings.

supervisor vs manager

What's a supervisor?

A supervisor is someone who makes choices with the manager's approval. They collaborate with employees to ensure that tasks are completed in accordance with the objectives established by management.

These personnel are the initial point of contact whenever an employee or client has an issue. They have the option of reporting it to the management if they feel the issue warrants their attention. Supervisors determine if disputes warrant manager attention if they feel their actions will jeopardize their ability to accomplish their objectives.

Supervisory responsibilities can include the following:

  • Establishing performance objectives and deadlines that are consistent with the company's strategy.
  • Supervising workflow to ensure workers are aware of their job tasks and allocated responsibilities.
  • Coaching individuals by providing positive comments to assist them in completing certain tasks.
  • Responding to consumer queries and concerns.
  • Maintaining employee schedules and personnel records.
  • Compiling and submitting department manager performance reports.
  • Selecting employees who are promotion- and bonus-eligible.
  • Assisting new workers with training while sticking to business rules.

Supervisor vs. manager: key differences

The primary distinctions between managers and supervisors are the extent of their power, their tasks, their aims, and their compensation. Managers are often higher-ranking, better-compensated leaders in a company who are responsible for strategic planning, goal formulation, and team management. Supervisors, on the other hand, are more involved in the day-to-day activities of their teams, ensuring that the manager's objectives are met.

The next sections will discuss the primary distinctions between managers and supervisors in each of these four categories:


A manager is a more senior employee in a business. A supervisor informs the management of changes to products, services, and personnel under their supervision. Depending on the size of the company, multiple supervisors can report to a manager, and an employee can be promoted to supervisor if they thrive in their present job.

A manager reports to the director, vice president, or board of directors of a department. For instance, the director of a department inside a grocery store can contact the manager to obtain an update on operations during a snowfall.


Supervisors manage day-to-day activities in order to increase their workers' productivity and position the department for success. Supervisors are aware of the responsibilities of their direct reports, the quantity of work accomplished, and the influence their performance has on the company. Managers can direct supervisors to conduct performance reviews with each employee after their performance comments.

Managers meet with supervisors to discuss the department's and workers' overall performance. They evaluate the performance of their superiors. They anticipate supervisors to emphasize the department's progress toward reaching its objectives and to identify potential concerns that might affect the department's success. Managers participate in meetings with their company's senior leadership team and are responsible for budget oversight.


Managers and supervisors have distinct objectives to accomplish. A supervisor's objectives are internal in nature, which means they collaborate with individuals inside their department to ensure they complete their current tasks.

supervisor vs manager

The supervisor facilitates employee training, ensuring that staff understands how to execute their jobs properly and efficiently. For instance, a supervisor in an information technology department can assist an employee with a computer issue. Once the supervisor has repaired the employee's computer, they are asked what tasks they are currently working on and are given shortcuts to assist them in completing their assignments more quickly.

A manager's objectives are external in nature, as they are accountable for the success of the entire organization, not just one department. An external perspective enables them to monitor their department's development without becoming involved in the execution of specific tasks. They set aside time to develop a strategy for the company's long-term profitability and sustainability. Managers assess the strategy's advantages and dangers before submitting it to their senior management team for approval.

Here are some examples of supervisory objectives to meet:

  • Next month, increase staff productivity by 10%.
  • Increase staff retention by 15% in the coming year
  • Three workers must be trained and each employee must submit a three-month performance review.

Here are some examples of objectives for managers to accomplish:

  • By the end of next month, complete next year's four-quarter strategy.
  • By the conclusion of the week, assign three special tasks to supervisors.
  • Adjust the company's budget and resubmit it for approval to top management.


Employees with management titles earn more than supervisors in an organization. Managers have greater duties than supervisors, and as a result, they receive a larger compensation. Supervisors perform a more specialized function inside a company since they deal only with individuals within their department, yet they continue to earn more than front-line employees due to their increased duties.

Common questions

Questions from job seekers about senior managers.

Is my supervisor my boss or manager?

Yes. Therefore, while you can refer to the manager as "team leader," "coordinator," an accurate and commonly recognized term for his or her job is "manager," "supervisor," or "boss."

Is a supervisor a boss?

A supervisor, alternatively referred to as a foreman, boss, overseer, facilitator, monitor, area coordinator, or even gaffer, is a low-level management position that is primarily concerned with exercising control over a worker or managing a workplace.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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