Reading: What Do Managers Do?
Functions of ManagementWe have discussed the skills that are important for a manager. These skills need to come together support the process of management, or the process of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. A plan enables you to take your business concept beyond the idea stage. It does not, however, get the work done. You have to organize things if you want your plan to become a reality. You have to put people and other resources in place to make things happen. And because your note-taking venture is supposed to be better off with you in charge, you need to be a leader who can motivate your people to do well. Finally, to know whether things are in fact going well, you'll have to control your operations—that is, measure the results and compare them with the results that you laid out in your plan. Figure 1 gives you a good idea of the interrelationship between planning and the other functions that managers perform.
If you visit any small or large company, not-for-profit organization, or government agency, you will find managers doing the same things you would be doing to run your note-taking business—planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
In the rest of this module, we will look at these four interrelated functions in detail.
- Managers plan, organize, direct, and control resources to achieve specific goals.
- Planning involves the setting of goals and then determining the best way to achieve them.
- Organizing means allocating resources (people, equipment, and money) to carry out the company's plans.
- Directing is the process of providing focus for employees and motivating them to achieve organizational goals.
- Controlling involves comparing actual to expected performance and taking corrective action when necessary.
Check Your UnderstandingAnswer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in this section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.
Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.