Directors vs. Managers: What's the difference?

Director vs. Manager

Director vs. Manager, is there a difference? Although these leadership titles sound similar, they have distinct focal areas. Let’s find out the difference between both positions to better understand the value of their roles in a company.

Leadership roles are vital in the success of any business. Great leaders bring out the talent and potential of every subordinate. They also ensure that all the work of each member is valued and maximized.

Now, in a corporate setting, there are plenty of leaders involved. A large business is typically made up of several departments and teams. And with every group of personnel comes a supervisory role.

Leadership positions, although they seemingly sound the same, have different functions. Today, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between the director vs. manager titles.  

Director vs. Manager: What’s the difference?

The first thing to understand about the two roles is that some of their responsibilities overlap in many cases. It depends on the type of hierarchical structure the company holds.

For smaller companies, the director might end up doing the manager’s duty and vice versa. However, in bigger organizations where there is enough staff, the director and manager usually stick to their side of the ring.

Furthermore, the two positions would similarly require good project management skills, as well as excellent people management skills. All the essential traits of a leader should be present. 

So, let’s now start discussing the differences between these two roles. Technically speaking, we can derive each role’s definition from their titles. The managers manage the people, while the directors direct their subordinates. Simply put, both involve working with other people.

Now, let’s break down their duties further. Here are the points of difference for both roles. 

Related Video: Finding and Hiring Great Employees

1. Supervision

As previously mentioned, managers are in charge of the staff. They supervise the work of entry-level and mid-level employees. It is their job to mentor each member of the team and ensure they understand how the system works.

Hence, they often conduct detailed training and track the progress and performance of every member. On the other hand, directors focus on keeping track of the manager’s performance. They support the managers in completing their respective projects.

If there are roadblocks and issues, managers can approach the director for advice and assistance. Additionally, directors are also responsible for providing leadership training and resources.   

2. Planning

It doesn’t come as a surprise that every leadership role involves a certain degree of planning. Managers and directors have different tasks to prioritize, as well as different people to delegate them to.

For managers, they delegate tasks and set goals and timelines for their team members. They will focus on what the client’s directives are and ensure it is relayed well to the team. Also, they will constantly track the progress of the project, making sure that all deliverables are up-to-date.

As with directors, they create leadership plans for executives in the long run. They cover a wider scope of planning such as the annual goal to improve daily operations and company processes. Their task is to determine the direction of the company and what its long-term business goals are.

3. Directives

Managers frequently follow the processes and procedures laid out by the director to whom they report. Then, they provide feedback on the tools, systems, and procedures that need improvement. And through their feedback, the director looks into alternative new goods and services. Then relay these suggestions for consideration by the company’s shareholders.

In comparison, directors create new protocols for their management teams to follow. They often inform their teams of the new processes and address any queries that managers may have regarding the changes. Once new policies are in place, they must ensure each personnel adheres to them.

4. Professional relationships

Directors often interact with company shareholders. Since they are accountable for operational success, shareholders expect directors to be on top of all the organizational activities.

They would directly report to higher-ups about the current performance of the company. On the other hand, managers would only build relationships with their subordinates. They’ll rarely report to shareholders.

5. Performance evaluation

Both managerial roles track and assess their subordinate’s performance regularly. Since they are usually the ones who set the goals, they’ll also evaluate if the goals are met.

Managers may establish particular goals for their teams, such as meeting quotas on a regular basis or meeting output targets. Managers frequently have one-on-one meetings with their staff to monitor their development and ensure that they reach their objectives.

Directors may oversee performance in a similar manner, although their objectives are frequently more complicated. A director, for example, could mandate that management test three different marketing strategies in a quarter. Clear objectives might assist a director in achieving their targets of enhancing corporate operations and increasing efficiency.

6. Daily tasks

On a daily basis, managers may spend their time responding to emails and phone calls. They’ll review daily metrics and meet with specific team members.  A project can be quite complicated, especially if it involves many members. This is why hiring a project manager is crucial to keep everything organized.   

Directors, though, may attend meetings with firm shareholders, executives, or managers. They assist them in overseeing their departments or learning about the company’s general aims. Directors mostly spend their time studying new methods, discussing alternative solutions, and explaining policy changes.

Now that we’ve learned the differences between director vs. manager, let’s take a closer look at what their duties entail and how to qualify as one.  

What is a Director?

A director is a senior management figure who is in charge of a certain part of a company. Directors typically supervise managers and may provide assistance in managing a department, team, or project. Their subordinates would be the managers or heads of a specific department.

The following are some of the common responsibilities of a director:

  • Creating business strategies and proposing implementation methods
  • Communicating with company executives and board members
  • Conducting manager performance reviews
  • Preparing business plans, budgets, and schedules
  • Providing managers have the resources they need
  • Ensuring managers comply with company and legal requirements
  • Managing relationships with shareholders
  • Overseeing a department’s overall performance
  • Understanding conflicts with teams and providing solutions

How to Become a Director

Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a director, an advanced degree would boost one’s qualification. A bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate in business are the typical educational background of directors.

They might also need to be technically proficient and have a lot of professional experience in their field. It’s a plus to have the following attributes: 

  • Communication skills
  • Planning and organizing skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Mentoring
  • Technical Skills
  • Managerial experience

What is a Manager?

A manager is a professional who oversees a specific area within an organization. They manage a team of employees and ensure the department operates smoothly.

The key responsibilities of a manager include:

  • Managing staff to support them in completing tasks
  • Recruiting and training new employees
  • Ensuring compliance with safety and legal standards
  • Conducting performance reviews of staff
  • Clarifying department and individual expectations
  • Coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees.
  • Enforcing company policies
  • Creating department goals
  • Communicating progress, needs, and updates to higher-level staff

How to Become a Manager

A manager should hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration or in a similar field. Someone who wants to work as a financial manager, for example, could obtain a finance degree.

A master’s degree in business administration is usually required for a manager in a larger company. Even though it isn’t needed, obtaining an MBA or other master’s degree can help one attain the requisite qualifications.

This increases one’s chances to win the role. On top of good educational background, a manager would also need these skills:

  • Communication skills
  • Planning and organizing skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership and people management skills
  • Mentoring

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You may rest certain that the resources you engage have the knowledge and experience to assist you in achieving your company objectives. Talk to us about how we can assist you in your business ventures. 

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