Management is the process of coordinating people and other resources to achieve the goals of the organization. One key characteristic is the ability to empower rather than order employees to do their jobs. Effective empowerment depends on the leader and the employees building mutual respect, trust, and commitment. Leadership also possesses the ability to communicate by fostering an ongoing dialogue rather than issuing mandates. Now the leadership and management are defined, we can move on to describe management in terms of its four functions. These functions are identified as planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. How well managers perform these key functions determines whether a business is successful.
Planning, in its simplest form, is establishing organizational goals and objectives and deciding how to accomplish them. It is the primary function, often referred as the “first” management function because all the management functions depend on planning. Managers engage in planning by determining where the firm should be going and how best to get there. Once goals and objectives have been set for the organization, managers must develop plans (or actions) for achieving them. A plan could be defined as an outline of the actions by which the organization intends to accomplish its goals and objectives. The company that I work for, 7-Eleven, I, as a manager, set a goal to sell as many products as possible to increase the sales. I have to ensure that the customer knows about the products we are selling. My number one target is the customer and the way to achieve is through my employees, who can provide the outstanding customer service and thus, the customer will come back.
After goal setting and planning, the second major function of the management is organizing. Organizing is the grouping of resources and activities to accomplish effective and efficient results. From the reading, “Organizing activities include attracting people to the organization, specifying job responsibilities, grouping jobs into work unit, marshaling and allocating resources, and creating conditions so that people and things work together to achieve maximum success” (Bateman, 2004). Let’s first consider the example of an inventor who creates a new product and goes into the market to sell it. Eventually, as business grows, he/she will find that he/she needs help. To begin with, he/she might hire a professional sales representative. Later, he/she might need to hire full-time sales staff, other people to assist with production, and an accountant.
As he/she hires new personnel, he/she must decide what each person will do, and generally how that person can best take part in the organization’s activities. The way I work toward the organizing for the benefits of my organization is by providing at least week training to my staff about the products we are selling and its prices, promoting products to the customers, and ways to deliver excellent customer service. After a week of training, I oversee the employee I have trained, what I call as “shadow shift,” in which the trainee is evaluated for his/her performance. In addition, I hold weekly meeting with my employees for any questions, concerns, issues, and/or responsibilities. I delegate tasks to my personnel on daily basis and ensure that their obligations are understood clearly.
The leading function is concerned with human resources within the organization. It is the process of influencing people to work toward a common goal as well as proving reasons for people to work in best interests of the organization. In other words, “It is directing, motivating, and communicating with employees, individually and in groups” (Bateman, 2004). Leading and motivating are critical activities for a growing company. Obviously, different people do things for different reasons – that is, they have different motivations. Some people are primarily interested in earning as much money as they can. Others may be spurred on by opportunities to get ahead in an organization. It is part of the manager’s jobs to determine what factors motivate workers and to try to provide those incentives in ways that encourage effective performance. For me, directing and motivating the employees is the most important function for the success of the company.
I always tell my employees, “Be happy, and keep customers happy.” I believe that the communication is very important to keep the firm running smoothly; a good manager would always take care of his/her employees and make sure that they are appreciated for the hard work they put in. Therefore, I always encourage my personnel to talk over any issues or problems, if they have any, with me. Not only this, I always value them and make them realize that they are the most important component of the company and without them the company can not move ahead. This way, a good relationship and trust is built between me and the employees and hence, the employees stay happy. With this, it gives them motivation to work for the best interests of the company.
Regardless of how hard managers try, sometimes business activities don’t go as planned. Then, the fourth function, controlling, comes into play that evaluates and regulates ongoing activities to ensure that organizational goals are achieved. Reckon a rocket, for instance, launched to place a satellite. Do personnel simply fire the rocket and then check back in few days to find out whether the satellite is in place? Of course not. The rocket is constantly supervised, and its course is regulated and adjusted as needed to get the satellite to its destination. Thus, during this function, changes might be made to the plans in order to attain better success in the future. Therefore, the performance is compared and actions are taken according if necessary. Another example would be suppose that a specific firm establishes a goal of increasing its profit by, let’s say, 15 percent in a year. To ensure that its goal is reached, management might monitor its profit on monthly basis.
After three to four months, if its profits have increased by 4-5 percent, then management might assume that the plans are going according to the schedule. Then, probably no action will be taken. However, if the profit has only increased by 1-2 percent, then the firm might take some actions or make some amendments to the planning to get things back on track. I can relate controlling to my organization because when the target is not reached to sell as many products as possible, I lower the price on the materials to meet the demands of the customers. For instance, if there’s a specific drink that is not selling as planned, I would try to sell it by promoting it for buying one sandwich and getting the drink free.
A successful organization understands not only basic management functions, but also how to integrate these functions – planning, organizing, leading, and controlling – to improve revenues and profit and to win customer satisfaction needs. Each function tends to lead naturally to others; and if any one of the four functions is not conducted in effective manner, the company’s performance might fail.
Bateman, Thomas S. (2004). Management: The New Competitive Landscape, 6e. The McGaw-Hill Companies. Retrieved on August 10, 2004 from https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/content/eBookLibrary/content/eReader.h
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