What is the difference between a manager and a supervisor?
A manager is responsible for meeting the institutional expectations of an area, process and/or employees that they are responsible for. Managers are also responsible for making recommendations in the hiring and disciplining of employees in their respective areas to the RRU President or designate.
A supervisor is responsible to oversee a work area (department, section, team) to ensure it meets its operational obligations and the expectations of its manager. Supervisors are generally members of the bargaining unit over which they supervise.
It is the ability to impact the employment of another employee that separates the two.
According to the BC Labour Relations Board, a manager is a position that has “authority and responsibility” over other employees. This means that a manager has the ability to recommend the hiring, firing and/or discipline of another position, making decisions that will impact the employment relationship of another employee and/or engage in activities, on behalf of the employer, that may impact the employment relationship of other employees. It is for these reasons that managers are part of the excluded employee group and not represented by a union.
An easy way to differentiate between managers and supervisors involves the ability to “Coach, Council and Correct” other employees.
Coach – regular interactions between employees with the intent to improve outcomes.
“if you organize your work this way, it should be more efficient.”
Both managers and supervisors can coach.
Counsel – recognizing that an aspect of a job was not performed in an efficient way and finding ways to address it.
“I saw how you interacted with that student. Here are things that you could have done differently that would work better.”
Both managers and supervisors can counsel.
Correct – provide direction to an employee that they must change their behavior/performance.
“You need to show up on time or else …” (insert some form of discipline – the “…” is not meant to be menacing).
Only managers can correct behavior with the possibility of discipline (the “or else” statement) as only managers have the ability to recommend discipline/termination of another employee.
**Before managers issue any corrective measures they should first contact their HR Consultant for assistance.
As there are a variety of job titles at RRU, it is often confusing as to who is a true ‘manager’ given that there are positions at RRU that are unionized yet have the word “manager” in their job title.
- If a position has the obligation to oversee (coach/counsel but not correct) the work of others – they are supervisors not managers.
- If a position is in a union/association and has “manager” in the job title – they are supervisors not managers (as determined by the BC Labour Board).
Supervisors are expected to oversee the day-to-day operations of their assigned areas. They ensure that the work gets done as effectively and efficiently as possible. Often they are the first line in dealing with complaints from clients or students and they are the first line in addressing an issue (i.e. coach/counsel). If the issue is not remedied, then a supervisor will take it to their manager who will provide further direction. If the performance/behavior issue(s) are not remedied, then the supervisor continues to report it to their manager. If any correction needs to take place, it is the responsibility of the manager (not the supervisor) to address it with the employee (i.e. discipline).
- Supervisors can be the designated contact person should another employee be sick and cannot come into work.
- Supervisors can be the initial reviewer of overtime and leave requests but do not authorize - they should ensure that operational coverage and obligations will be maintained and report to the Manager who will make the decision to approve.
- Supervisors will report employee behaviour/performance concerns to their manager, as well as other issues should they arise.
- Supervisors will assign work to employees within the boundaries of their appointments, job descriptions and expectations.
- Supervisors will ensure punctuality and attendance of employees, and report concerns to their manager.
Within the CUPE bargaining unit at RRU we have designated ‘Lead hands’. These are CUPE employees who have assigned supervisory responsibilities in addition to their regular duties. Lead hands are designated, with the appropriate approvals, under the RRU/CUPE Collective Agreement. Lead hands are supervisors and are expected to provide the leadership support to the employees they are supervising (coach, counsel but not correct) and to their respective manager.