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Superiors are natural persons who have been entrusted within an organization ( company , public administration , authority , military ) with the authority to issue instructions to subordinate personnel .


The division of labor also requires a division into executive and managerial activities , which are characterized by a mutual ranking . A manager has the authority, within the framework of the right of direction, by means of instructions to instruct those carrying out activities, which actions they must undertake and which they must refrain from . Superiors can make use of their right to give instructions orally ( order , order ) or in writing ( work instructions , service instructions ). Through their leadership skills , they take on external responsibility and delegate implementation skills . The managerial tasks of a superior include organization , planning , goal setting , decision-making , coordination , information , employee evaluation and control . In addition, superiors (in the case of legal entities only the legal representatives) also assume the responsibility under criminal and contractual law that their subordinates are adequately trained, particularly with regard to occupational safety .


In general, a distinction is made between disciplinary superiors ( service superiors ) and specialist superiors :

In a line organization , one speaks of a (strict) hierarchical order , because the representatives of one hierarchical level represent the (only direct) superior of the next subordinate hierarchical level. In a matrix organization , an employee can have several managers, but the managerial function in terms of personnel responsibility generally lies with one person.

According to Werner Thieme , there are hierarchical relationships

These tasks are one of the core tasks of a manager. In addition, he has to ensure the induction and further qualification of his employees.

Supervisors for officials and soldiers

The superiors of civil servants and soldiers - which are regulated nationwide in laws - are particularly clearly structured . The German Judges Act (DRiG) stipulates that the civil service regulations are to be applied mutatis mutandis to judges in the federal service ( Section 46 DRiG).


In civil service law , the superior is who is allowed to issue official orders ( Section 3 (3 ) BBG ). The disciplinary manager is called the service manager . The superior in accordance with Section 3 (2) BBG is someone who is responsible for civil service decisions on the personal affairs of the civil servants who are subordinate to him or her. The superior of a supreme authority (e.g. Ministry of Finance ) is the finance minister , a middle authority ( Federal Finance Directorate ) is the president and a lower authority ( main customs office ) is the head of office .


The Bundeswehr Superiors Ordinance (VorgV) recognizes the following superiors in accordance with Section 1 (5) VorgV:

  • Immediate superiors (Section 1, Paragraph 1 of the VorgV) lead a military division (from the group to the association ) or lead a military agency .
  • Specialist superiors ( § 2 VorgV) have technical authority to give orders in a specialist service to the soldiers under their command (the general pharmacist is the highest specialist in the field of military pharmacy).
  • Superiors with a special area of ​​responsibility ( Section 3 VorgV) are soldiers whose position requires a special area of ​​responsibility with special authority to command (for example company sergeant ).
  • Superiors based on rank ( § 4 VorgV): a soldier in a higher rank group is superior to members of the lower rank groups. (the colonel across from the sergeant major ).
  • Superiors based on special orders ( Section 5 VorgV) are only temporarily active for a special task ; for business reasons, a lower-ranking soldier can also be the superior of a higher-ranking soldier in exceptional cases.
  • Superiors based on their own declaration ( § 6 VorgV) are superiors by virtue of an “emergency” with limited authority.

Supervisors in an organization

Superiors occupy their own position in the organizational chart of the organizational structure , exercise a function there and are often given an official title that describes their function . In business it as hot (from bottom to top) group leader , head of unit , head of department , authorized signatory , authorized officer , director or board , in the public administration as commissioner , magistrate , senior administrator , Councilor , Councilor , Secretary , Assistant Secretary of State or Secretary of State . The function also provides information about which area the function holder belongs to and whether he is in a leading or an executive role. The managerial function of supervisor is considered to be a coordinating instance because it serves to coordinate cooperative processes.

Web links

Wiktionary: Supervisor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus Altfelder / Hans G. Bartels / Joachim-Hans Horn / Heinrich-Theodor Metze, Lexikon der Unternehmensführung , 1973, p. 83
  2. Reinhard Höhn / Gisela Böhme, Management Brevier der Wirtschaft , 1974, p. 305 ff.
  3. Reinhard Höhn / Gisela Böhme, Management Brevier der Wirtschaft , 1974, p. 298 ff.
  4. Werner Thieme, Verwaltungslehre , 1969, p. 89 ff.
  5. Sabine Leppek, Beamtenrecht , 2015, p. 32
  6. Sabine Leppek, Beamtenrecht , 2015, p. 33
  7. ^ Frank Less / Gudrun Schattschneider / Bernhard Gertz, Soldiers' Law Commentary , 2008, p. 51 ff.
  8. ^ Fritz Neske / Markus Wiener (eds.), Management-Lexikon , Volume II, 1985, p. 466