The new work-from-home routine has brought many challenges for management—what with so many of us now working out of different cities! Coordinating with employees, monitoring progress via email and collaborating digitally requires constant attention and a lot of time.
Office communication has now found a new home online with virtual meet-ups becoming the new normal. But even though this transition has been difficult, everyone is learning to get used to this way of working. At the end of the day, we have to work hard to achieve personal and professional goals.
Whether at home or in the office, every organization strives to achieve short-term and long-term goals. But how do you determine the clarity of roles and responsibilities, deliverables and deadlines?
This is where French Industrialist Henri Fayol’s management theory comes into play. The theory defines five functions of management—planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. Each of these functions plays a critical role in helping organizations achieve efficiently and effectively. Luther Gulick, Fayol’s successor, further defined 7 functions of management or POSDCORB—planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.
But Gulick’s 7 functions of management have been criticized by experts as an oversimplification of the managerial process. So, Fayol’s functions of management are more commonly accepted by management even today.
A manager should be well-versed in each of these five functions to accomplish organizational goals. We’ll be discussing the various functions of management to understand how they improve the day-to-day operations of an organization. We’ll also explore how they can help you become a qualified manager.
What Are The Functions Of Management?
A manager is someone who can lead, direct and control operations and people in their organization without imposing their authority. In a world where a more informal working structure is becoming increasingly popular, a manager has to work with their team to achieve larger goals. Functions of management are a great starting point to find your footing before you dive straight into your role as a manager.
Functions of management help you stay informed about what you need to do and how so that you can guide your staff accordingly. Management experts like Fayol and Gulick explain the functions of management to equip yourself with the right skills to become an accomplished manager.
Let’s say that you’re in the planning stage of your managerial process. This means that you’ll first assess your goals, define your purpose and visualize what needs to be done. This requires the ability to interpret historical data, evaluate current trends and develop strategies for the future. Each function is successful if you can reach your destination without problems like surpassing your budget or missing deadlines.
Here are the functions of management and why they’re important.
Planning is an important function of management because it sets the pace for all subsequent steps in the managerial process. You need to develop a roadmap for the future—predefined steps—to accomplish organizational goals. In this step, you’ll have to evaluate methods and strategies to determine how you’ll progress toward your goal.
You may have to look at how things were done in the past to make any adjustments to mitigate errors. You have to consider both internal factors—people, time and cost—and external factors—competitors, policies and general business environment—to arrive at a sound planning strategy.
This is where you put your plan into action by establishing a system of authority or hierarchy in the context of your organizational structure. Determine the tasks that need to be completed to achieve your goals before assigning them to your staff. As opposed to the traditional ways of working where a manager made all the decisions, today’s business world is more dynamic and flexible. Every member of the organization—regardless of position—shares accountability and responsibility.
So, define an organizational structure that aligns with your workplace and assign tasks that map to your team’s skills and abilities. You have to get everyone on the same page and delegate tasks the way you see fit.
This is another important function of management. You have to assign tasks based on each team member’s knowledge, skills and abilities. You have to be careful here because you may have to hire new talent for specific tasks that require specific technical expertise. Assessing the needs of your employees in terms of incentives, training and development and compensation are critical for the success of this step.
An effective manager will have the insight to evaluate the competency and efficiency of their employees. This is to ensure that their assigned tasks match their skills. You have to adopt an empathetic approach to connect with your employees and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Directing is concerned with supervising your team’s progress. In this step, you have to keep an open channel of communication and get regular updates to stay on top of things. A great way to do this is by giving and receiving feedback to address any problem areas and improve performance. This is where you have to act as a leader, navigate conflict and motivate your employees to take initiative.
Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course will teach you the Skill-Will Matrix—attributed to leadership coach Max Landsberg. It’s a quick and easy way to assign tasks based on the capabilities and motivation of each member.
As a manager, you have to give each team member enough autonomy to help them stay motivated and perform without constant supervision. Besides monitoring your team, you also have to keep your manager and other stakeholders informed with progress reports. The entire organization should work like a well-oiled machine to achieve your goals in a time-effective manner.
This is where you have to measure the progress of each step established in the planning stage against your organizational goals. This step requires you to coordinate with your employees to ensure that they’re moving in the right direction and in the right manner. According to Gulick’s 7 functions of management, controlling can be understood in terms of coordinating, reporting and budgeting.
Not only do you have to ensure that every step is going according to plan, but also watch out for potential problems to take corrective measures. Make timely adjustments and modifications where necessary. It’ll help you accomplish your goals faster within your timeframe and your budget. Take this opportunity to cooperate with everyone on your team.
Examples Of Management Functions
Management functions are a systematic framework that you can rely on in your professional life. Now that we’ve discussed each function in detail, let’s discuss their implementation with examples. Here are a few examples of management functions:
Say that you’re an operations manager with a firm that manufactures office furniture. Your responsibilities will include defining the production, packaging and delivery processes. You’ll have to monitor the progress of the assembly line, ensure that everything is up to standard and performance is not compromised at any stage.
As a manager, you have to set clearly-defined goals for production, hire the right people for your team and monitor progress to mitigate errors. From the planning stage to the controlling stage, you have to work with your team to maintain quality standards.
Let’s say that you’re a sales manager tasked with launching a new product. Now, your responsibilities include assembling a new sales team for this project. This is where you assess abilities and different skills to appoint the right people. For instance, someone who’s good with numbers can help you visualize sales projections and make budgets. Meanwhile, someone who’s good at design can contribute to the product packaging and ad campaigns.
As a manager, in-depth knowledge of the various functions of management is critical for professional success. This is a good measure of your efficiency and effectiveness that play a crucial role in achieving organizational goals.
Leading a team isn’t a walk in the park because you have to accommodate different work styles, personalities and skillsets. Functions of management highlight essential skills that every manager needs to supervise, coordinate and communicate with their teams. As a good manager, you need to have the right insight to understand who you’re working with and how you can use their abilities for the greater good of the organization.
Our Managing Teamwork course will show you how to become an effective leader and a reliable member of your team. Learn the importance of feedback and how it can help you navigate conflict in your organization. With the power of the GRIN (Goals-Roles-Interdependence-Norm) framework, you’ll be able to set goals, define a code of conduct for your team and work closely with your teammates. Identify best practices for your team to achieve your goals without losing sight of the big picture!
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Collaborate habit such as Teamwork, Delegation of Authority, the Difference Between Leadership and Management, Employee Engagement, Building Relationships & Strategic Management in order to develop your collaboration skills.
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