The differences between a Head of Operations and an Operations Manager In this article, we’ll look at the differences between these two roles. The key differences are: Scope of Responsibility: An Operations Manager generally oversees specific departments or units within the operations function of an organization. They are often responsible for particular tasks, processes, or teams. In contrast, the Head of Operations usually has a broader scope, overseeing the entire operations division or even the entire organization’s operational activities, depending on the size and structure of the company. Hierarchy and Reporting: An Operations Manager typically reports to a higher-level executive, such as the Head of Operations or COO. The Head of Operations, on the other hand, is often a C-level executive who reports directly to the CEO or the board of directors, and may have multiple Operations Managers reporting to them. Strategic Involvement: Operations Managers are usually more involved in the day-to-day management of tasks, processes, and teams. They focus on executing strategies rather than creating them. The Head of Operations is more likely to be involved in strategic planning and decision-making at an organizational level, often working closely with other top executives to set the company’s operational direction. Budget Authority: Operations Managers often have budgetary responsibilities limited to their department or specific projects. The Head of Operations is usually responsible for a much larger budget that encompasses multiple departments or the entire organization’s operational budget. Cross-Functional Collaboration: While Operations Managers may collaborate with managers in other departments, their primary focus is on optimizing their own unit or department. The Head of Operations is more likely to engage in cross-functional collaboration, working with heads of other departments like Sales, Marketing, and Finance to align organizational objectives. Skill Set: Operations Managers often specialize in specific areas such as supply chain management, production, or customer service. The Head of Operations needs a more diverse skill set that includes strategic thinking, leadership, and a broad understanding of all operational areas. Decision-Making Authority: Operations Managers usually have the authority to make decisions within their area of responsibility but may need approval for larger, more impactful decisions. The Head of Operations has the authority to make high-level decisions that affect the entire organization’s operations. Compensation and Benefits: Given the higher level of responsibility and the broader scope of their role, the Head of Operations generally receives higher compensation, which may include a combination of salary, bonuses, and stock options. Operations Managers usually have a compensation package that reflects their more limited scope of responsibility. Performance Metrics: Operations Managers are often evaluated based on specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) related to their department’s performance. The Head of Operations is usually evaluated based on broader organizational metrics, such as overall operational efficiency, profitability, and alignment with strategic goals. Tenure and Experience: Operations Managers may be promoted from within and might have less experience in management roles compared to the Head of Operations, who often has a longer track record in leadership positions and may have experience managing operations at multiple organizations or at a larger scale. External Relations: The Head of Operations is more likely to interact with external stakeholders, such as investors, board members, and key clients, representing the operational aspects of the company. Operations Managers are generally more internally focused, dealing with staff, internal processes, and specific operational challenges. Crisis Management: In times of crisis, the Head of Operations is often responsible for making critical decisions that will affect the entire organization, while Operations Managers will be responsible for implementing these decisions within their specific departments. Each of these differences contributes to the unique roles that Operations Managers and Heads of Operations play within an organization, shaping their responsibilities, influence, and impact on organizational success.