I am looking for a word or phrase to describe "the person to whom an employee directly reports".

I do not want to use "Supervisor" or "Manager" as these titles are both already used in the organization with distinct definitions; I want a hypernym which covers both of these titles.

I came up with "direct superior" as an option, as an opposite to the phrase "direct report", but I am not sure it is a common phrase. (A google search for it seems to mainly return information about "direct superior hip replacements".)

  • You mean "direct report" to mean a person's immediate underling? I've not personally heard this term. – Catija Aug 8 '16 at 22:28
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    I should think that 'line manager' is in the right ballpark, if not an exact antonym. You should check out 'direct superior' yourself and give your findings. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 8 '16 at 22:32
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    How about “boss – Jim Aug 8 '16 at 22:52
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    @user190361 - Ok, but formality wasn’t part of the question, and I only refer to my immediate supervisor as my boss. The guy above that is my boss’s boss. – Jim Aug 8 '16 at 23:15
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    Why don't you want "manager", one of the most intuitively correct responses, to be part of the answer? – Max Williams Aug 9 '16 at 14:43

I don't recognize "direct manager" the way I do "direct reports". I would say "immediate superior" or "immediate manager". "Immediate supervisor" works as well, but I would only use that for low-level employees that do not have direct reports themselves (I do not think it is correct to apply the term supervisor to, say, a senior vice president who has five direct reports and two thousand indirect reports).

I do not, however, speak from great personal experience in an American or English company. No real authoritative references, but some forums: PROZ, YAHOO.

As an aside that may interest people, the French usual term is "N+1". Your "N+2" is logically your "boss's boss". People looking to translate that don't have any other ideas that I see: WR. French also has the noun "responsable", which unfortunately does not translate directly to English.

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