Career Advice

The Difference Between a Manager and a Supervisor

Job Puma April 13, 2021

At some point in your career, you may have heard people use the terms supervisor and manager interchangeably. Technically, the two roles are separate, however. The degree of difference depends on the type of industry in which they work. These are some differences between a supervisor and a manager:

A Manager Has Higher Rank

A manager usually has a higher rank in the hierarchy than a supervisor does. A regular employee may move up the ladder to a supervisor's position long before that person moves into a manager's position, for example. Sometimes, the hierarchy goes from supervisor to assistant manager to manager.

A Supervisor Is More Hands-On

A supervisor is usually the person who deals directly with an employee or an entire team. He or she is also more likely to work side-by-side with the team members if they ever get short-staffed, for example. The supervisor may be the one to make the schedules for his or her department and coach team members.

Managers Direct Operations

While supervisors direct team members and individual employees, managers usually direct operations. They perform a variety of tasks such as financial paperwork, hiring new staff members, and having the final say on terminating employees. Managers are also more likely to oversee the team of supervisors than they are to oversee the team members.

Managers Need More Credentials

In many cases, manager jobs require more education and experience than supervisor positions do. They may also require more extensive background checks and pre-hiring procedures than supervisor positions might require.

Now you know a little about the differences between managers and supervisors. As mentioned before, these differences may vary depending on the type of establishment you're referencing. Use the information to make the right job application decisions. Read job descriptions carefully, as well. You may need to apply for a supervisor's role instead of a manager's role or vice versa.