Difference Between Supervisor and Manager

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: November 01, 2023


Difference Between Supervisor and Manager

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Managers and Supervisors are two terms that are very common in a company's power hierarchy. These two positions of power play a crucial role in making decisions, managing the teams involved, and setting goals. A Manager and Supervisor serve as the leaders for the projects they have been assigned to; without their leadership, the project, as well as the team, can easily fall apart. This article will cover the meaning and their significant roles in running a team and why their importance cannot be underestimated.

Manager vs. Supervisor

The main difference between a manager and a supervisor is a manager is an individual who makes the crucial decisions that affect the whole business operation. In contrast, the supervisor is someone who works alongside the employees and makes sure that the instructions given by the manager are met. A manager is a superior position compared to a supervisor, has more added responsibilities, and is responsible for any setbacks that may occur. The manager and supervisor are expected to work in perfect harmony regarding leading their team and achieving their goals.

The Difference Between Manager and Supervisor in Tabular Form

Basis of ComparisonManagerSupervisor
DescriptionA manager manages the entire department of the organization and guides them to achieve the company’s goalsA supervisor is the one who supervises the employees and makes sure the work performed by them is up to the standards set by the company
Level of ManagementIt is considered a middle-level managementIt is considered lower-level management
Reports toBoard of DirectorsManager
Right to hire, fire, and promoteYesNo, but the supervisor has the authority to recommend standout employees
FocusThe manager’s focus is on planning the future of the team and other management processesA supervisor’s main focus is on the overall performance of the employees
ResponsibilityThe responsibility of the manager is to oversee and improve the overall performance of his team/departmentA supervisor is responsible for managing the employees of the team and looking after the work performed by each of them

What is a Manager?

A manager is a role within the organization, this role is assigned to a particular person who possesses certain skills which can help lead a department/team in achieving organizational goals. The manager has various tasks assigned to them, like conducting performance reviews and making decisions. A manager also acts as a middleman between the executive team and employees, the manager facilitates smooth communication between them so that they can work together without any issues to execute projects and achieve their goals.

The role of a manager is not assigned randomly to anyone, a person must possess certain skills like Leadership to lead the team, and one should also have great communication skills as there will be a need for frequent communication between the manager and the employees, quick decision-making and relationship building skills.

Types of Managers

The roles of a manager are diverse, and for that reason, different types of managers exist; the following are the types of managers within an organization:-

  • Top managers require the person to be heavily involved in the company's overall strategy; they overlook various departments of the organization, and everything they manage has to be in line with the company's objectives to be successful.
  • General managers are responsible for managing the production line of the company; their main goal is to increase the company's revenue.
  • Line managers are assigned to generate specific outputs for the services provided by a company to their customers. The follow-up results are to be communicated to them so that they can be communicated to the upper management.
  • Team managers or supervisors are assigned to look after specific groups of an organization, like keeping track of what each employee in that group is doing, etc. They are also required to report to the upper management.

Responsibilities of a Manager

  • One of the main responsibilities of a manager is to lead the team assigned to him/her. The manager acts as the leader of the team, they are responsible for guiding their employees and assisting them with any problems faced by the employees. The manager also assigns tasks over to specific employees and makes sure that the team is moving together towards the same goal. A great manager will always possess exceptional leadership skills that will catapult them far in their careers.
  • Managers are also often tasked with training their employees; this will help the employees perform better on duty and also learn new skills or develop existing skills. If a manager sees potential in a specific employee, the employee might also get offered professional development opportunities to further advance their career.
  • Managers also make decisions for the department; at times, managers are called in to make difficult decisions, and hence, it is important for managers to have good decision-making skills. Having a good decision-making process can help the department in overcoming certain hurdles which would not be possible if not for quick and good decision-making. A manager can also ask the opinions of their employees or supervisors so that they gain some insight into what the problem is, this will aid them in making better decisions.
  • Managers have the responsibility to manage the budget of their department, having good financial management will help the department to operate at an efficient level without wasting the company's resources. Having good financial management will help the manager in creating a budget that will have enough resources to reach their goal, managers can also get professional advice from other individuals.
  • Managers also routinely conduct the performance review of their employees. This review helps the manager to identify what is lacking in each employee and can provide assistance and feedback to the employees who need it.
  • Managers also work together with the human resource department of the company to hire new employees. Managers are tasked with this task because it helps them personally choose employees who will perfectly fit into their team and give them an extra boost in terms of skills and quality.

How to Become a Manager

Educational Qualification

A candidate should possess the educational qualification required by the company they are applying to, like a bachelor's or a master's degree. Having a higher educational qualification is always welcomed.

Research Manager Responsibilities

The candidate must research what is expected in a managerial role and the responsibilities that come with it. This will give clarity to the candidate about the role and also determine if he/she is right for the job.

Assessing and Developing Skills

The candidate should perform a self-assessment to identify the skills that he/she already possesses and what skills they are lacking for that role. Once the self-assessment is over, the candidate is to further develop their skill set to better prepare them.

Gain Experience

Candidates should look to join a training program or do internships that will give them experience and further solidify them to be exceptional managers.

Applying for the Post

Once the candidate possesses the required educational qualification, skillset, and experience, they should apply for the role. The prior training programs to gain experience and skill development will catapult the candidate to be the front-runner for the role.

What is a Supervisor?

A supervisor is a role that is tasked to look after the employees and their day-to-day performances. The company decides what team the supervisor will be managing. Their presence and duties are essential for the development of the employees because supervisors are directly responsible for helping the employees with any problem they might be facing. A supervisor's daily task includes monitoring their employees, delegating tasks to specific employees, assisting the employees with any issues faced by them, etc. A supervisor also has the power to discipline their employees, promote and reward them for any exceptional work done, recommend standout employees, etc.

Just like a manager, a supervisor is also required to possess certain skills. The skill set required includes excellent communication skills are always a must for a supervisor as good and smooth communication with employees is very important for both, great conflict resolution abilities if any conflict arises in the workplace, strong leadership skills to motivate and support their employees, exceptional time management to manage the workload and time constraints, ability to recognize issues that might hinder an employee's productivity, etc.

Responsibilities of a Supervisor

  • A supervisor is required to meet all goals set by the supervising staff
  • A supervisor should set up policies, procedures and implement a system that will exercise discipline.
  • Monitor the employees and identify any issues faced by them and give them feedback on areas they can improve and what they did wrong.
  • Setting a performance standard that is to be maintained among all the employees.
  • The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that every employee complies with the company's policies.
  • Acting as a communication bridge between the upper management and the employees and ensuring smooth communication between them.
  • Assisting in the hiring and firing process of employees.
  • To de-escalate any issues that might arise with a customer.

How to Become a Supervisor

Educational Requirements

The first step of becoming a supervisor is possessing the educational qualification required by the company the person is applying to. Usually, most companies require you to have a bachelor's degree, but some companies might insist on having higher education like a master's degree. Meeting the required educational qualification is the first stage in becoming a supervisor.

Develop Supervisor Skills

The role of a supervisor requires one to possess certain skills like leadership, conflict-resolving skills, communication skills, etc. The skills mentioned are what most companies will look for when looking for a capable supervisor and why one should be developing those skills.

Supervisor Training and Internships

Most companies require the person applying for front-line management training to learn important management and communication skills. Having gone through specific training and internships will increase the chances of being selected by a company.

Supervisor Certifications

Gaining an additional supervisor certificate will further help improve a person's chances, this certificate will tell the company that the person applying already has baseline knowledge for the supervisor position. A supervisor certificate also shows that the candidate is more competitive and more knowledgeable than his/her peers.

Full Information on Supervisor's Responsibilities

The candidate should have full knowledge of what is required from a supervisor and the responsibilities that come with being one. This will help the candidate to be prepared for what is being expected of him/her.

Main Difference Between Supervisor and Manager in Points

  • Typically, managers are ranked higher than supervisors. In most organizations, managers will report to a director or a board of directors, while a supervisor will report to managers.
  • Managers have the authority to hire, fire, and promote employees, whereas supervisors don't share the same level of authority; they are, however allowed to recommend employees who they deem are doing exceptional work.
  • The supervisors oversee the day-to-day activities of their employees, making sure every employee is performing up to standards and also lending assistance to any employee who is struggling. Managers, on the other hand, have a meeting with the supervisor to check if the overall performance of the department is on par with the expectations and that all the company's goals are being met or are to be met in the future.
  • The objective of a manager is to devise strategies that will achieve long-term profits for the company, they will go through the pros and cons of their plan before getting the approval of the senior management. The supervisor's objective is to ensure the employees are performing their tasks efficiently without any delay.
  • The salary of a manager is higher than that of a Supervisor.


Managers and Supervisors are paramount to a company's success, these roles are essential as they oversee the different departments of the company and strategize plans that will lead to long-term profits for a company. Companies are also very strict and careful when recruiting employees and only choose the most eligible candidates for their roles, this shows the importance of both these roles. In essence, even if the roles are different in nature, both these roles have a common objective which is to increase the company's overall performance.


  • Indeed Editorial Team, "What Is a Manager? Definition, Role and Responsibilities," 4 May 2023. [Online]. Available: https://au.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-a-manager.


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"Difference Between Supervisor and Manager." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 17 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-supervisor-and-manager>.

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