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Business 101: The 4 Management Functions

by | Mar 30, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

The managerial process encompasses four management functions, including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Each function is important in its own right, although they all work in unison for the purpose of achieving organizational goals. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at each of the four functions of management and how managers can apply them to achieve organizational advantages.

What are the four functions of management?

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of four basic functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Successful managers have to perform all these managerial functions well in order to achieve the desired organizational outcomes.

Planning Function

The planning phase means looking ahead and chalking out future courses of action to be followed. It is a preparatory phase. Planning is a systematic activity that determines when, how, and who will perform a specific job.

Organizing Function

The organizing function of management follows planning. It is the function that deals with managing and aligning human, physical, and financial resources to achieve organizational objectives. For example, this includes creating systems, organizing tasks, process, allocating resources, or establishing teams. Organizing implies, creating the organizational infrastructure from which the company will operate.

Leading Function

The Leading stage consists of directing and motivating employees toward achieving organizational objectives. It is the human resources function of management because it focuses on people and their behavior. Leaders must have the force of purpose and be able to lead employees toward their vision. There are several leadership styles we will touch upon this, later in the blog.

Controlling Function

The Controlling function of management helps to match planned results and weigh achievements versus, pre-planned targets. Managers must determine, which systems, resources, and people are being used correctly, which requires change or if the resource or individual is no longer required. In accomplishing this, the controlling function is used to measure the progress towards the organizational goals, and determine which parts of the business are functioning well, which need to improve and to eliminate resources or, people who are not serving the business’s interests.

What are the inter-relationships between the four basic functions?

The four functions of management are distinct, although they are not separate and independent. It is more accurate to view them as integrated, organic, and operating harmoniously. Simply put, the four functions of management operate as a cycle where one function is impacted by the others. As the organization grows and evolves, the four functions become more intricate and sophisticated. However, the integrated cyclical nature does not change.

The planning process is the function wherein management charts a course for the organization. This includes understanding the organizations’ goals and plotting a course to achieve them. In turn, operational planning flows into the organizing function. The planning process can be broken down into operational, financial, or strategic planning, Organizing involves taking the company’s financial, material and human resources and allocating them, such as training employees and creating financial systems, organizational procedures, and processes designed to reach the company objectives.

Organizing segues into the leading function. The leading phase consists of orienting, training, and integrating employees to understand the organization’s values, culture, processes, and purpose. Further, leading also means developing relationships and understanding what motivates individuals and groups. There is a distinct difference between “manager” and “leader”. Moreover, managers must have or acquire leadership skills, and leaders who are managers must learn management skills. In both cases, leaders and managers must command respect and exercise authority to direct employees and align them toward organizational goals.

The control process implies measuring accomplishments against set targets, re-assessing, and applying corrective measures to re-align the organization’s course toward the company plan. There are several controlling functions or systems, such as data management, managerial accounting, employee performance standards, quality metrics, and others that a successful manager will utilize to reach the organization’s goals.

What are the different management and leadership styles?

A person’s management or leadership style can also impact employee attitude, engagement, performance, and commitment to the organization. According to a Gallup study, managers account for 70 percent of work attitudes and employee engagement and can adversely or positively impact employees’ commitment to their work and the company.

The word “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably, as mentioned earlier. While there are similarities, such as the need to command respect, solve problems, exercise authority, and accept responsibility. It is helpful to view the relationship between “manager” and “leader” as a spectrum. On one side sits the pure “manager,” the person who creates processes, allocates resources, works with data, sets measurable targets, and administers the organization’s apparatus.

On another side of the spectrum sits the pure “leader.” They are charismatic individuals who brings people together through vision and inspiration. Leaders live their vision and share it with those around them. Leaders develop genuine relationships, engender loyalty, and have a natural appeal that motivates and encourages people around them to follow. Some managers will be more “organizing-controlling” focused in terms of the four basic functions. In contrast, others managers may naturally be “planning-leading” types.

The management process requires managers to act as leaders and vice-versa. As a result, successful managers will have both managerial and leadership skills and abilities. Some managers will sit closer to the manager side of the spectrum, while others will express leadership qualities. Below is a brief explanation of the different management styles. As you may note, some styles will lean deliberately towards one side of the manager-leader spectrum:

Democratic style.

The democratic management style is a participative management style in which employees are given a voice in the decision-making process. Managers who use this style believe that employees should be consulted about changes that affect them and have a say in the decisions that affect their work. Consequently, employees who work in a democratic organization feel valued and appreciated. As a result, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and have a higher level of commitment to the company.

Laissez-faire style.

The laissez-faire style is a hands-off management style in which managers do not interfere with their employees’ work. Employees who work in a laissez-faire organization are given the freedom to do their work as they see fit. This can be positive or negative depending on the employees’ productivity and motivation levels.

If employees are productive and motivated, a laissez-faire management style can be beneficial because it allows them to work without interference. However, if employees are not productive or motivated, a laissez-faire management style can be counterproductive because it will enable them to wander without supervision, direction, or control. In this case, the manager would need to step in and provide guidance and direction to the employees.

Autocratic style.

The autocratic management style is a dictatorial style in which managers make all the decisions, and employees are given no say in the decision-making process. Employees who work in an autocratic organization are given very little freedom to do their work. The autocratic management style is a dictatorial style in which managers make all the decisions, and employees are given no say in the decision-making process. This style is often seen as very demanding and can lead to employees having high-stress levels.

Charismatic style.

The charismatic style is a management style in which the manager has a lot of charisma and uses it to influence and motivate employees. Managers who use this style are often very passionate about their work and can inspire employees to give their best effort. Hence, employees in a charismatic organization often feel excited and enthusiastic about their work. They feel like they are a part of something special and that their manager truly cares about them. This type of environment is often conducive to high productivity and motivation levels.

Coach style.

The coach management style is a combination of the democratic and autocratic management styles. In this style, managers involve employees in the decision-making process, but they also make the final decisions. This style is often seen as being fair to employees because they are given a voice, but they also know that the manager is in charge and will make the final decision. This style is often seen as being fair to employees because they are given a voice, but they also know that the manager is in charge.

Pacesetting style.

The pacesetting style is a style in which the manager sets the pace for how employees should work. Managers who use this style have high expectations for their employees and expect them to work as hard as possible. For this reason, employees who work in a pacesetting organization often feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

Bureaucratic management style.

The bureaucratic management style is a management style in which the manager follows the rules and procedures of the organization. Managers who use this style believe in order and predictability and follow the guidelines set forth by the organization. Employees who work in a bureaucratic organization often feel frustrated because they are not able to make decisions on their own and feel like they are being micromanaged. In addition, employees who work in a bureaucratic organization often feel like they are working in a slow and inefficient organization.

Transactional management style.

The transactional management style is a management style in which the manager focuses on the transactions between employees and the organization. Managers who use this style believe in rules and procedures and follow the guidelines set forth by the organization. Employees who work in a transactional organization often feel frustrated because they cannot make decisions on their own and feel like they are under too much control. In a transactional organization, the manager constantly looks at the transactions between employees and the organization and makes sure that everything is running smoothly.

The four functions of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Each of these functions is important in order to ensure that a business is running efficiently. A manager who understands these functions can use them to create a productive and efficient workplace. By planning ahead, the manager can ensure that the business has a clear direction and that employees know what is expected of them. By organizing the workplace, the manager can ensure that everything is in its place and that employees have easy access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs. The manager can also create rules and procedures to help employees work more efficiently. By exercising managerial control over the work environment, the manager can ensure that employees are staying on task and are not causing problems. By using these four functions of management, the manager can create a productive and efficient workplace.

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