Director of Operations Job Description – Duties, and Skills

Director of Operations Job Description

Director of Operations Job Description consists of operational management, and this function involves the daily management of people, processes, and procedures.

A director of operations is the pinnacle role that an individual in the operations field aims to achieve in the career spectrum. As a director of operations, your function entails overseeing the organization’s broad daily operations down to the organization’s very intricate details. As a Director of Operations, your job description involves every aspect of daily operations, negotiations, budgeting, and strategies. A director of operations is responsible for an organization’s growth and profitability by providing direction and coordination for the organization. 

In some organizations, a Director of Operations is also referred to as a Chief Operations Officer (COO); however, the major difference between both roles is dependent on the CEO of the organization. In some other organizations, the Director of Operations functions as an Operations Director; this position is less authority and responsibility than a Chief Operations Officer. Another important aspect of a Director of Operations or Chief Operating Officer is that some companies tend to have more than one COO or Director of Operations or none at all. This choice also is a function of the CEO and the operationally standard of the organization. This does not mean the Director of Operations’ role is irrelevant, but as management styles differ, so does the role requirement in organizations.

As an individual interested in becoming a Director of Operations, you must realize that the position is not an entry-level position or a mid-management level position. It is one of the highest-ranking executive positions in an organization; the Director of Operations is usually second in command to the Chief Executive Officer and requires years of significant work experience to attain the position.

Director of Operations Job Description

The job description of a Director of Operations depends on the Chief Executive Officer and the industry; however, irrespective of industry or CEO, there are core job functions that a Director of Operations performs. The key job description of a Director of Operations is as follows:

  • Operational Management 

A major job description of a Director of Operations is operational management, and this function involves the daily management of people, processes, and procedures. Depending on the industry, operational management can be how goods are produced, including Health, Safety, Environment standards, Quality Control standards, and internal organization standards. The Director of Operations ensures smooth running of daily operations by accessing its set goals’ strengths, and requirements.

The organization’s size or scale plays a major role in determining the operational management job functions of a Director of Operations. In small-sized organizations, the Director of Operations is involved with all the processes, even the intricate details. In larger organizations, the Director of Operations is in charge of more people and is involved with each department through various Operations managers who report to him or her. 

  • Strategy Management

A Director of Operations is part of strategy development and implementation. As a Director of Operations, the success of every strategy of the organization rests on your shoulder and your ability to guide the entire workforce, including the CEO, to achieve the set goal. You are involved in strategy development and are the key driving force for its implementation.

  • People Management

The Director of Operations’s position is a senior executive position, and people management is a key job description. People control all operations; ineffective management of the people that make the processes and operations work will result in failure of operations and the organization. People management is the same irrespective of Chief Executive Officers or industry; it does not require an industry-specific experience. A Director of Operations analyses data and metrics to evaluate staff performance to maximize performance and drive productivity. You collaborate with the Human Resources department to decide promotions, succession planning, and cohesion between departments for better performance.

  • Budgeting

A Director of Operations is directly responsible for budgeting. This role works with the accounting department to develop a company budget and growth strategy. This is done by determining the financial performance goals of the organization. The budget gives direction to the operational strategy that is chosen to achieve the goal. As a Director of Operations, you need to understand the company financials and growth plan clearly. 

  • Negotiations

In some industries or business sectors, a Director of Operations is responsible for company negotiations, whether internally or externally. These negotiations are usually geared towards achieving the set budget either with internal customers or external customers.


As a Director of Operations, you are expected to perform the following duties either routinely or on a daily basis:

  • Develop, implement and monitor daily activities of the organization by leading clear processes and procedures that provide direction to key initiatives of the organization
  • Identify obstacles or organizational bottlenecks that hinder growth, productivity, and achievement of deliverables.
  • Co-ordinate all department heads to drive productivity in their individual departments.
  • Devise strategies to ensure the growth of the organization, maximize profitability and productivity
  • Ensure strict compliance of organizational processes, Health Safety and Environment compliance, and quality compliance 
  • Develop, analyze and monitor metrics to evaluate staff productivity whilst monitoring day to day activities
  • Work with Human resources to develop job descriptions, hire competent staff and oversee staff training or on-boarding
  • Develop financial plans and budgets with Head of departments and ensure companywide compliance by setting guidelines and regulations
  • Monitor company revenue, margins and conducting budget reviews
  • Oversee customer and client services
  • Managing procurement and resource allocations to departments in the organization. 
  • Ensure staff welfare by working with Human resources
  • Negotiating for and on behalf of the company to either internal customer; all staff and external customers; vendors, suppliers, contractors, clients, and end-users.
  • Working with senior executives for long term business planning, strategy development, and succession planning


To become a Director of Operations, there are certain skills that you are required to have; each skill is unique and important, so they cannot be substituted for each other. These skills are as important as years of work experience. They include:

  • Communication

As a Director of Operations, you require both strong written and verbal skills. The need to clearly articulate your goals and objectives cannot be over-emphasized; a simple miscommunication can lead to irreparable damage in the organization. A strong written skill is also important as this skill becomes important in both internal and external communications. Other communication skills needed are public speaking and non-verbal communication; body language or facial expressions are also necessary for negotiations. 

  • Leadership

A Director of Operations role is an executive leadership role, and it requires strong managerial and leadership skills. Other executives and department heads look up to you for guidance, direction, and leadership. The ability to guide the organization’s direction towards the goal is largely dependent on exceptional management skills despite whatever management style you choose. A hands-on Director of Operations achieves more success than a Director of Operations that works in isolation

  • Problem Solving

It is impossible to have an organization that operates without one or two issues. As a Director of Operations, you need to have exceptional problem-solving skills. This skill is necessary to have in a situation where an issue or problem arises; the ability to solve the problem in the shortest possible time is also an important determinant to the success of the organization’s goals.

  • Decision Making

The ability to make prompt, concise, and clear decisions is a necessary management skill. As a Director of Operations, the ability to make the right decision is essential. At various stages of strategy implementation, your ability to make the right decision or judgment is a major determinant of the strategy’s outcome. You must be able to evaluate every situation critically, reviewing all possible outcomes before you make your decision. When the Director of Operations lacks decision-making skills, leadership is compromised, but it is plagued with the disorder and failed strategies.

  • Negotiation Skills

A Director of Operations is tasked with negotiations for the organization; exceptional negotiation skills benefit the company in margins, deals closed, and ultimately the overall revenue. You cannot have exceptional negotiation skills if you have poor communication skills. The right body language, tone, and gesture, despite being communication skills, are all features that contribute to exceptional negotiation skills.

  • Teamwork and Delegation

As a Director of Operations, people management is a core function of your role. The ability to create cohesion between individuals, units, and departments is a vital skill you must possess. You will need to create cohesion, promote teamwork and drive productivity. Your work is a lot easier when there is teamwork. Delegation of tasks is also an important part of people management. Delegation is necessary due to the volume of workload you are required to coordinate. You must possess skills that enable you to delegate as opposed to doing it yourself all the time. Also, it would be best if you had the skill and expertise of delegation to delegate to avoid preventable or foreseen crises rightly.

Education and Experience Requirements

A Director of Operations typically holds a Bachelors degree in Business administration, Finance, management, or related fields. In some organizations, typically large firms, a Director of Operations must possess a Masters of Business Administration degree. Professional certifications are an added advantage to getting employed as a Director of Operations. Significant work experience in mid and senior-level management is also important in getting a position as a Director of Operations. Industry-specific work experience is also necessary for Director of Operations positions in organizations. 

Salary Structure

A Director of Operations position is a well-paid position and offers a very competitive salary across all industries. Your salary depends on the organization’s salary structure, the industry, and the size of the organization. Smaller companies tend to pay a lower salary to a Director of Operations than bigger companies do. In some organizations, the salary for the role of a Director of Operations is dependent on years of experience. According to PayScale, the average salary of a Director of Operations is $92,627 yearly. This figure was gotten as an average of all available Director of Operations salary nationwide.

How to Become a Director of Operations

If part of your career goal is to become a Director of Operations, there are a few things to consider in your career towards this goal. 

  • It would be best to plan your career by developing all the necessary skills to succeed as a Director of Operations. 
  • Be persistent and determined in your tasks as you climb the career ladder. 
  • Advance your educational qualifications by getting an MBA and necessary certifications
  • Apply for open roles
Can I Become a Director of Operations with no work experience if I have an MBA?

No. You need to have significant work experience to perform optimally as a Director of Operations. A Master in Business Administration can give you a higher entry-level position than individuals without a Masters in Business Administration; however, the position of a Director of Operations is not an entry-level position. You can only attain a position with significant work experience either in the same organization or another organization in the same industry.

Is the role of a Director of Operations gender specific?

In the aspect of career progression, No, the role is not gender-specific. Organizations reserve the right to determine the preferred gender they will require for a Director of Operations role. Most companies in recent times promote diversity and inclusion; they do not have any gender restriction for the role of a Director of Operations.

Can a CEO be the Director of Operations?

Yes, a CEO can double as a Director of Operations. In 2007, almost 58% of Fortune 500 companies operated without a COO or Director of Operations because the CEOs took on most of the work or delegated to a lower executive position.

This does not invalidate the Director of Operations’ position as most organizations have since reverted to creating the position due to expansion and necessity.

Also read Gerald Garth: From Administrative Assistant to Director of Operations

Director of Operations Job Description – Duties, and Skills

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