What Does a Senior Manager Do? (With Top Qualifications)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The role of a senior manager typically has many challenges and responsibilities. Professionals at this level of management are in a higher role than front-line managers and may have more opportunities for promotion to director or general manager roles. Learning more about what a senior manager does can help you determine whether pursuing this role is suitable for your career goals.

In this article, we talk about what a senior manager does, explore the differences between a senior manager and a manager, review qualifications for a senior manager, identify how to get noticed at work, and highlight six actions to help make you an outstanding senior manager.

What does a senior manager do in an organization?

Here's a list of common responsibilities for the role of senior manager:

Guiding the supervisor

To manage the supervisor of a team or department, the senior manager requires expert knowledge of the field and the team. As senior management roles are at a higher level than front-end manager, the role typically comes with increased responsibilities. Managers receive the senior title when they supervise an entire department.

Creating goals

A senior manager often sets precise goals based on strategic planning and process. They may create a full plan for how to implement a strategy for their teams. Senior managers may also communicate with their teams about a plan of action to achieve the set goals with clear expectations and accountability.

Making critical decisions

A senior manager's role comes with additional responsibilities and a higher expectation to solve critical problems in the workplace. Senior managers strategize a solution to identify and solve the problem quickly and efficiently, helping to ensure no other problems arise. Providing complex solutions requires creativity and innovation from management.

Monitoring department budget

The executive management team creates and manages the department's budget. To help ensure that costs are reasonable and that the team uses the funds appropriately, the management team may assign control to a senior manager. The chief financial officer (CFO) prepares financial reports and information records, including invoices, contracts, and department receipts that the senior manager typically files.

Evaluating employee performance

Senior managers monitor and evaluate the performance and productivity of a team with the goal of maximizing the team's efficiency. They typically keep record of all employee performance to monitor if an employee is using an efficient method for higher productivity. If employees need help to perform better, the senior manager arranges helpful tools, such as company workshops.

The key differences between a senior manager vs. manager

Here are the key differences between a senior manager and a manager:

  • Experience. Senior managers typically have extensive experience in the field and company, and are generally among the most qualified candidates when chosen for the role. While managers are skilled in their role, they typically require less experience and skills to perform their tasks.

  • Division of labour. A manager is someone who is the head of a team and handles its performance, whereas a senior manager regulates the activities of multiple teams according to the company's vision.

  • Supervision. Managers instruct their team on what to do by delegating tasks and creating timelines for completion. Comparatively, senior managers provide intrinsic leadership and directions to all staff.

  • Planning. A manager handles day-to-day operations and makes short-term plans for the company, while senior managers help in making long-term plans to secure the company's future.

Top qualifications of a senior manager

Specific qualifications can vary for roles in different industries and may depend on the size of the company. Here's a list of some qualities you may need for success as a senior manager, regardless of your specific role:

Industry knowledge

Senior managers hold an executive position within a company, so their primary qualifications include an in-depth understanding of their industry, company operations, and the mission and objectives of the company. They also require a working knowledge of the trends in the industry and an understanding of the current processes of the field. Having the ability to gain consumer confidence in the company is also important for the role, as it's one of the primary objectives for senior managers.

Related: Top Management Skills Every Manager Needs

Networking

Senior managers may need connections throughout the industry. This can include investors, financial experts, legal counsel, and industry insiders. Senior managers are problem solvers and this can mean they need a network of professionals in the field to contact when they need advice. You can build these relationships by participating in industry events and connecting with others online.

Relavant experience

Working in an industry for a long time can help you gain knowledge about what works and what to avoid. Leaders who have progressed and grown with a company know how to manage people and move the company forward. Senior managers may benefit from being good financial strategists, as the company often depends on them to gain profit.

Education

Attaining additional education can help increase your likelihood of being considered for a senior manager position in a company. Educating yourself in the industry you wish to work in can also provide you with an advantage in the workplace. Your professional development at work can provide you with enough working knowledge to help prepare you for a management role without a formal university degree.

Related: How to Become a Manager in 6 Steps

Tips for getting noticed at work

Here's a list of tips for getting noticed at work if you're interested in pursuing the role of a senior manager:

  • Display excellence. Try to complete your tasks on time and within the budget. Be willing to take on more tasks to help your employer and the company to display your excellence in your role.

  • Be a leader. You can try to motivate and inspire your team and recognize team members when they perform well. Treat your colleagues with respect and dignity and give credit to people who do a good job to increase your leadership potential.

  • Provide great customer service. When you provide great customer service, you treat your customers with respect and help them with enthusiasm. This can help improve their experience and impress employers.

  • Volunteer. Volunteer to help with committees and task forces, both in the company and in other professional environments, to increase your chances of getting noticed at work.

  • Socialize. Try to socialize with the senior management team in workplace events and build a rapport with them.

  • Prepare a succession plan. Consider how you can build a supportive relationship with your employer. You can help them with their career development and create succession plans to help make their job easier and get noticed for your efforts.

  • Fill in for your employer. You can offer to fill in for your employer when they are away on vacations or business trips. This can convey to senior management that you're a person who's ready for the responsibilities of a promotion.

  • Look for more opportunities. Look for management opportunities both inside and outside the company to help your employer understand how serious you are about your career growth.

What makes a great senior manager?

Here's a list of what you can do to be effective in your role as a senior manager:

Communicate your vision

As senior manager, you may have taken part in the strategic planning of the company. It's your duty to communicate your vision to your team and create plans for the team to execute. Have your team report back to you regularly to help ensure they're working according to your expectations.

Define clear objectives

Try to set clear objectives for each member of the team. Share all necessary information with your middle managers and support them in completing tasks within deadlines. You can discuss their action plans to achieve the expected results, hold them accountable throughout the process, and support them in achieving their goals.

Lead by example

To lead by example, treat people with fairness and dignity, and encourage your team to do the same. Being a senior manager means that you have the responsibility of filtering the information you receive. Try to keep employees informed and supported, which can help them be more effective in their roles and inspire transparency and honesty in the team overall.

Related: 9 Types of Management Styles for Effective Leadership

Report to executives

An efficient senior manager provides regular updates to the executive management team. You can provide this as daily or weekly reports showing the result of your team and how they align with the objectives of the company. This can help reinforce the confidence the executives have in you and your team and encourage them to not micromanage you.

Keep improving

You can continually gain new skills by reading or attending business seminars. Try to focus on improving your presentation skills, negotiation skills, and public speaking skills as you learn. You can also improve professionally by maintaining a working knowledge of finance, marketing, operations, and sales. This can help you build better relationships with your senior management team and enable you to solve problems much faster.

Track your results

You can use key metrics to track your team's results and compare them to their objectives. Communicate your results to the executive team and employees to keep them informed about the success of the team and the company. Try to help the team decipher the information and keep an open dialogue to make it easy for your team to approach you with questions.

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