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Shift Leader Job Descriptions

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A shift leader is a little like a counselor-in-training at summer camp: she has some authority over the younger kids, but she still answers to the counselors and camp staff. Shift leaders work in businesses that have a lot of different shifts. On the organizational totem pole, these workers – who are also sometimes called shift managers or shift supervisors – are one step up from other crew members, but are at least one step below managers. Shift leaders do all the things that other crew members do, but with some added responsibility.

Where Shift Leaders Work

Shift leader is a designation that's primarily used in fast food restaurants, but these positions are also available in coffee shops, gas stations, drug stores and similar businesses. These operations are all open from early morning through late at night, sometimes 24 hours, and they have a lot of different shifts but don't have a manager on duty at all times. That's why shift leaders are used.

What Shift Leaders Do

Typically, a shift leader is in charge when a manager isn't around. The person in this position is a step above the other employees but is a step below the manager or assistant manager. Typically, a shift leader starts out as a regular crew member and then is promoted to shift leader, before becoming promoted to a management position.

Shift manager duties include the same tasks that the other crew members are responsible for. In fact, the people in these roles must excel at every position. In a fast food restaurant, for example, a shift leader should know how to operate the cash register, how to use the fryer, assemble food, how to handle customer complaints and so on. This person can replace any worker who doesn't show up or who leaves early. During a shift, the leader may work at one set station, but he is available to help workers at other stations, if necessary.

The shift leader may also delegate assignments to coworkers, make sure the workplace and customer areas are clean, train new employees and report to management about any issues that arise during a shift. One of the most important duties of this role involves cash and deposits. The shift leader is responsible for making sure that all money is accounted for at the end of the shift, and she may be expected to take cash to the bank to deposit.

What Shift Leaders Don't Do

Shift leaders don't have the same power or responsibilities that managers do. They may be consulted about personnel decisions, but a shift leader or crew leader job description doesn't include hiring and firing. These workers don't order supplies, analyze financial reports, make decisions about menu options or prices or manage any legal or health code issues.

What Shift Leaders Earn

Because shift leaders are primarily employed in places that often pay workers minimum wage, and these workers only have some extra responsibility, shift leaders don't usually earn very much. Usually, they earn a little more than the people they supervise, but it is less than what managers or assistant managers earn. If crew members at a fast-food restaurant earn $10 per hour, the shift leader will generally earn about $11 or $12.


Kathryn has been a lifestyle writer for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on and

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