What Is the Difference Between Management & Administrative Leadership?

Managers and administrators have slightly different job descriptions.
Managers and administrators have slightly different job descriptions. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Though business managers and administrators perform many similar duties, quite a few differences are represented in their day-to-day routines. In some smaller corporations, managers and administrators are the same person, but the responsibilities of the two roles retain several distinct differences.


Business administrators tend to have more of a broad focus, whereas managers' job descriptions are more specific. For example, an administrator may be in charge of overseeing the accounting, human resources and marketing departments, whereas a different manager may run each department.


Much like a city council is to a police officer, administrators write the policies and managers enforce them. Many companies allow managers to have significant input, but as a rule, it's their job to execute the policies of the administrators. For instance, if the administration chooses a new insurance program, it's up to management to become experts on it to explain it to the employees and answer any questions.

Day to Day

Ideally a manager oversees the daily operations and is an effective leader. Sometimes, however, sensible delegation is impossible because of layoffs, sickness or increased workload. In such times, it's not unusual for a manager to roll up her sleeves and work in the trenches. This is not the case for administrators, who may work off site.


Administrators are more in charge of the general direction of the company than are managers. Managers need to be good leaders of people, but administrators steer the overall mission and vision of the company. It is administrators who ensure that the company's objectives are achieved.

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