Helping Organizations with Employee Concern Employers: Book Time With THE FIRM
highlighted marketing director

What Do a Manager, a Director, and A Vice President Actually Do?

If you're curious at all, and I know that you are, you're probably wondering what those job titles mean as you surf job feeds or view someone's Linked In profile. If you're in the workforce, you probably have some idea as to what a person with the job title of manager, director, or vice president does, but are vague on the specifics. Or maybe, you're interested in planning for your career five or even ten years from now.  Or maybe you're just curious about how these job titles are acquired. Technically, there are three types of job titles:

  • titles that describe the responsibilities of the position, (manager, director)

  • titles that reflect what's done on the job, (engineer, chef)

  • titles that are a combination of the above ( marketing manager, lead accountant, head chef)

Typically, organizations consist of hierarchies. This title hierarchy mimics the internal structure of a company. Referred to as an organizational chart, it shows job positions according to title and the relationship of that title or position to other listed titles and their respective responsibilities. Beginning from the top of the chart, the title CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is followed by that of Vice President.  Below the title of VP is Director (a company can have more than one director), and then the title of Manager or Senior Manager.

Here we break down the titles of General Operations Manager, Operations Director, and Vice President of Operations with description, responsibilities, and median salary:

The Role of A General Operations Manager

Managers have a dual role. They not only have a leadership role in an organization but an administrative role as well. If we were to look to history, specifically the history of business management, we wouldn't have to look farther than Dr. Peter Drucker. Dr. Drucker, the founder of modern management, author of several management books, and a leader in management education, breaks down a manager's role into five basic responsibilities:

  1. Setting group or team objectives. The manager sets group goals and decides what tasks need to be done to reach those objectives.

  2. Organizes tasks for the team or group. A manager determines the goals for the task or project and designates responsibilities to each team member to accomplish those tasks.

  3. Communicates, evaluates, and motivates. A manager is responsible for communicating the tasks or projects to the team. They are also responsible for assigning tasks to people according to title, pay, and placement through communications. A manager performs evaluations with each member of his team. These evaluations may be done quarterly, bi-annually, or yearly. Managers hold meetings to determine the status of a team project, communicating any fluctuating requirements and motivating team members when challenges arise.

  4. Develops and mentors team members. The manager is also responsible for developing the knowledge of their team members or group. It can be with one-on-one training, classroom training, or shadowing a senior team member.

  5. Measures team or group performance. Through analytic software, managers establish targets and deadlines for their projects. Through metrics they analyze and interpret both past, present and future performance.

Manager Salary: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a general manager is $60.707.  The expected job growth through 2024 is 7 percent.

The Role of Operations Director

Directors of Operations lead and supervise a group of managers within a particular area of a company. For instance, within a company's organizational chart, you may have several directors—Director of Sales, a Director of Operations, or a Director of Development. It's not unusual to have directors throughout a company. Directors can report to a company's vice president or even directly to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Operations Directors may also be called Chief Operating Officers (COO). In general, the responsibilities of an Operations Director include supervising the daily business activities of a company. Other tasks or duties a Director of Operations may include:

  • Managing company resources.

  • Developing, implementing, and monitoring an operational plan and revising guidelines and policies.

  • Working with HR to create job descriptions, hire employees, and supervise employee training.

  • Evaluating operational efficiency and makes adjustments to optimize productivity.

  • Creating staff evaluations with the assistance of HR.

  • Analyzing the company's revenue and reviews the budget to optimize profits.

  • Supervising resource allocations and procurement.

Operations Director Salary: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Directors of Operations is $86,108.00.  The expected job growth through 2024 is 7 percent.

The Role of Vice President of Operations

As an executive-level professional, the role of vice president of operations is to supervise a company's daily business activities. Working closely with directors and managers, they establish company-wide goals and manage departments to meet organizational goals. They meet with directors and managers to evaluate the resources needed by each department to boost staff productivity and efficiency.

The duties of a Vice President of Operations include:

  • Distributing tasks and responsibilities among managers and directors.

  • Determining goals and setting performance objectives for managers and directors.

  • Using critical thinking skills to solve efficiency and productivity challenges.

  • Interviewing and hiring directors and managers.

  • Mentoring directors and managers to enhance their leadership skills.

  • Providing resources to departments to ease productivity challenges.

  • Working with executive management to create a budget and financial plan.

VP of Operations Salary: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Vice President of Operations is $123,807.00.  The expected job growth through 2024 is 6 percent.