Every organization, regardless of size, has developed and implemented its own management concepts in order for it to run smoothly and accomplish the vision, goals and objectives it has set forth. As such, the basic functions of management, broken down into four different areas, allow for it to handle the strategic, tactical and operational decisions for the organization. The four functions of management are: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
Planning is the core area of all the functions of management. It is the foundation upon which the other three areas should be build. Planning requires management to evaluate where the company is currently, and where it would like to be in the future. From there an appropriate course of action to attain the company's goals and objectives is determined and implemented.
The planning process is ongoing. There are uncontrollable, external factors that constantly affect a company both positively and negatively. Depending on the circumstances, these external factors may cause a company to adjust its course of action in accomplishing certain goals. This is referred to as strategic planning.
During strategic planning, management analyzes internal and external factors that do and may affect the company, as well as the objectives and goals. From there they determine the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In order for management to do this effectively, it has to be realistic and comprehensive.
Getting organized is the second function of management. Management must organize all its resources in order to implement the course of action it determined in the planning process. Through the process of getting organized, management will determine the internal organizational structure; establish and maintain relationships, as well as allocate necessary resources.
In determining the internal structure, management must look at the different divisions or departments, the coordination of staff, and what is the best way to handle the necessary tasks and disbursement of information within the company. Management will then divide up the work that needs to be done, determine appropriate departments, and delegate authority and responsibilities.
The third function of management is directing. Through directing, management is able to influence and oversee the behavior of the staff in achieving the company's goals, as well as assisting them in accomplishing their own personal or career goals. This influence can be gained through motivation, communication, department dynamics, and department leadership.
Employees that are highly motivated generally go above and beyond in their job performance, thereby playing a vital role in the company achieving its goals. For this reason, managers tend to put a lot of focus on motivating their employees. They come up with reward and incentive programs based on job performance and geared toward the employees' needs.
Effective communication is vital in maintaining a productive working environment, building positive interpersonal relationships, and problem solving. Understanding the communication process and working on areas that need improvement help managers to become more effective communicators. The best way to find areas that need improvement is to periodically ask themselves and others how well they are doing.
Controlling is the last of the four functions of management. It involves establishing performance standards based on the company's objectives, and evaluating and reporting actual job performance. Once management has done both of these things, it should compare the two to determine any necessary corrective or preventive action.
Management should not lower standards in an effort to solve performance problems. Rather they should directly address the employee or department having the problem. Conversely, if limited resources or other external factors prohibit standards from being attained, management should lower standards as needed.
The control process, as with the other three, is ongoing. Through controlling, management is able to identify any potential problems and take the necessary preventative measures. Management is also able to identify any developing problems that need to be addressed through corrective action.
In order for management to be considered successful, it must attain the goals and objectives of the organization. This requires creative problem solving in each of the four functions of management. More so, success requires that management be both effective and efficient. Therefore, it needs to not only accomplish those goals and objectives, but do it in a way that the cost of accomplishment is viable for the company.