Four Functions of Management

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Within every business structure are managers. No matter the type of business, a manager’s job is essentially the same across the board but there are four functions of management to consider regardless of the leadership style.

In short, those four functions are to plan and implement plans to achieve the organization’s goals, to organize those plans while directing employees in their own roles and ultimately controlling the plan to function as an effective manager.

Planning: The manager’s main duty is to determine what the organization’s goals are and what actions to take in order to achieve those goals. Think of it like a football coach creating a playbook to help his team reach the Super Bowl (or something like that). A manager is responsible for creating a ‘game plan’ to reach a specific goal. For example: A weekly plan may include meetings, creating employee schedules or receiving a report that details statistics. These are all actions that a manager plans to implement on a weekly basis.

Organizing: Whether it is the employees or resources, the manager is responsible for organizing the daily functions of it all. What shifts are needed? How many employees per shift? Are the employees reaching their set goals? If not, why? These are only a few of the questions asked in the organization process of the management functions. This process can also be considered the backbone of all the management functions due to the fact that this step is more direct. In other words, this is the process employees actually see and are affected by. If a manager is disorganized there is a ripple effect. Employees will lose respect for management; making the next function of management harder to achieve.

Directing: Company objectives cannot be achieved if the manager doesn’t provide direction; however, if you haven’t planned or organized you will not succeed with this function. Direction and motivation are the key factors in directing. A clear plan that is organized and dispersed to employees is what employees are seeking. A manager will find themselves to be an effective leader if their workers understand what is required of them and why.

Controlling: The controlling function of management, in large part, is about monitoring the organization’s performance to ensure the ultimate goals are being met and correcting any areas of the process that are restricting the outcome desired. Praise and recognition are controlled at this level. Since the final data is gathered here the manager generally knows who is and who isn’t excelling in their role of the processes. You will ensure continued success if you acknowledge those that are exceeding expectations while at the same time affecting another to strive for the same recognition. It is a win-win for everyone.

While there are many other functions to effective management; planning, organizing, directing and controlling are the four main functions of management that should be considered the most important. Learning how to balance each of the four functions simultaneously will lead to effective management.