Conduct, manage, control, direct are comparable when they mean to use one’s skill, authority, or other powers in order to lead, guide, command, or dominate persons or things.
Conduct may imply the act of an agent who is both the leader and the person responsible for the acts and achievements of a group having a common end or goal, but often the idea of leadership is lost or obscured and the stress is placed on a carrying on by all or by many of the participants.
Manage usually implies the handling, manipulating, or maneuvering of a person or persons or a thing or things so as to bring about a response or submission to one’s wishes or attempts to use, guide, lead, or command. But manage is also often used to imply the action of one who is in authority and charged with the handling of the details of a business or industry or of one of its departments or of any complex or intricate system or organization.
Control stresses the idea of authoritative guidance and suggests a keeping within set or desired bounds (as of accuracy, efficiency, propriety, or discipline); it implies a regulating or a restraining often by getting or keeping the upper hand.
Sometimes, however, control implies little more than domination or the complete subjection of the dominated person or thing to one’s will.
Direct (see also COMMAND, DIRECT 1, DIRECT 2) implies a regulation of the activities (as of a group of persons) or of the course or courses to be followed; it carries no suggestion of a desire or aim to dominate, but of an intent or purpose to keep the persons or things involved straight, well organized, or properly administered.