Directing, Fundamentals of Directing

Recently updated on April 13th, 2023 at 06:10 pm

Directing can be defined as that function of management, which helps in guiding and leading people to work in such a manner so as to perform efficiently and effectively for the attainment of organizational objectives. Directing is the managerial function, which initiates organized action.

It is one of the most important fundamental functions of management and is a part of every managerial action taken because the direction is primarily concerned towards various other function of management like leadership, motivation, and communication.

According to Koontz and O ‘Donnel; “directing is a complex function that includes all those activities which are designed to encourage subordinate to work effectively and efficiently in both the short and long-run.”

Directing is the heart of management function. All other functions of management such as planning, organizing, and staffing have no importance without directing. Leadership, motivation, supervision, communication are various aspects of directing. Let us study the importance and principles of directing.

Directing refers to a process or technique of instructing, guiding, inspiring, counselling, overseeing and leading people towards the accomplishment of organizational goals. It is a continuous managerial process that goes on throughout the life of the organization.

Characteristics of Directing are as follows:

  1. Initiates Action

A directing function is performed by the managers along with planning, staffing, organizing and controlling in order to discharge their duties in the organization. While other functions prepare a platform for action, directing initiates action.

  1. Pervasive Function

Directing takes place at every level of the organization. Wherever there is a superior-subordinate relationship, directing exists as every manager provides guidance and inspiration to his subordinates.

  1. Continuous Activity

It is a continuous function as it continues throughout the life of organization irrespective of the changes in the managers or employees.

  1. Descending Order of Hierarchy

Directing flows from a top level of management to the bottom level. Every manager exercises this function on his immediate subordinate.

  1. Human Factor

Since all employees are different and behave differently in different situations, it becomes important for the managers to tackle the situations appropriately. Thus, directing is a significant function that gets the work done by the employees and increases the growth of the organization.

Importance of Directing

  1. Initiates Action

Each and every action in an organization is initiated only through directing. The managers direct the subordinates about what to do, how to do when to do and also see to it that their instructions are properly followed.

  1. Ingrates Efforts

Directing integrates the efforts of all the employees and departments through persuasive leadership and effective communication towards the accomplishment of organizational goals.

  1. Motivates Employees

A manager identifies the potential and abilities of its subordinates and helps them to give their best. He also motivates them by offering them financial and non-financial incentives to improve their performance.

  1. Provides Stability

Stability is significant in the growth of any organization. Effective directing develops co-operation and commitment among the employees and creates a balance among various departments and groups.

  1. Coping up with the Changes

Employees have a tendency to resist any kind of change in the organization. But, adapting the environmental changes is necessary for the growth of the organization. A manager through motivation, proper communication and leadership can make the employees understand the nature and contents of change and also the positive aftermaths of the change. This will help in a smooth adaptation of the changes without any friction between the management and employees.

  1. Effective Utilization of Resources

It involves defining the duties and responsibilities of every subordinate clearly thereby avoiding wastages, duplication of efforts, etc. and utilizing the resources of men, machine, materials, and money in the maximum possible way. It helps in reducing costs and increasing profits.

Principles of Directing

  1. Maximum Individual Contribution

One of the main principles of directing is the contribution of individuals. Management should adopt such directing policies that motivate the employees to contribute their maximum potential for the attainment of organizational goals.

  1. Harmony of Objectives

Sometimes there is a conflict between the organizational objectives and individual objectives. For example, the organization wants profits to increase and to retain its major share, whereas, the employees may perceive that they should get a major share as a bonus as they have worked really hard for it.

Here, directing has an important role to play in establishing harmony and coordination between the objectives of both the parties.

  1. Unity of Command

This principle states that a subordinate should receive instructions from only one superior at a time. If he receives instructions from more than one superiors at the same time, it will create confusion, conflict, and disorder in the organization and also he will not be able to prioritize his work.

  1. Appropriate Direction Technique

Among the principles of directing, this one states that appropriate direction techniques should be used to supervise, lead, communicate and motivate the employees based on their needs, capabilities, attitudes and other situational variables.

  1. Managerial Communication

According to this principle, it should be seen that the instructions are clearly conveyed to the employees and it should be ensured that they have understood the same meaning as was intended to be communicated.

  1. Use of Informal Organization

Within every formal organization, there exists an informal group or organization. The manager should identify those groups and use them to communicate information. There should be a free flow of information among the seniors and the subordinates as an effective exchange of information are really important for the growth of an organization.

  1. Leadership

Managers should possess a good leadership quality to influence the subordinates and make them work according to their wish. It is one of the important principles of directing.

  1. Follow Through

As per this principle, managers are required to monitor the extent to which the policies, procedures, and instructions are followed by the subordinates. If there is any problem in implementation, then the suitable modifications can be made.

Techniques of Directing

There are various elements involved in direction are as follows-

  1. Issuing Orders and Instructions to Subordinates

The first and foremost element of direction is to issue orders and instructions which are considered an essential step in the process of directing subordinates. An order is a fundamental tool for getting things done. Therefore, the orders and instructions reflect managerial decisions and initiate action on the part of subordinates. Orders may be general or specific, formal or informal, written or oral.

Thus an order should serve the following characteristics:

  • The order should be clear and complete.
  • It should be reasonable and attainable.
  • The order must be in tune with the various other objectives of the organization and also for the interests of the subordinates.
  • All order should follow the chain of command.
  • Face-to-face suggestions are preferable to long­ distance orders.
  1. Supervision in an overall manner

It refers to monitor the progress of routine work of one’s subordinates and guiding them properly. Supervision is an important element of the directing function of management. Supervision has an important feature which includes face-to-face interaction between the supervisor and his subordinates.

It involves direct personal contact with subordinates. Supervision converts plans into action. Thus supervision is considered as an essential step in the process of directing.

  1. Motivating Subordinates

The term motivation can be referred to as that process which excites people to work for the attainment of the desired objective. Among the various factors of production, it is only the human factor which is dynamic and provides mobility to other physical resources.

Thus, in an overall sense, it becomes essential so as to motivate the human resources so as to keep the employees dynamic, aware and eager to perform their duty. Both the monetary and non-monetary incentives are given to the employees for motivation. Thus through motivation, the employees will perform better. Hence, it will help to achieve the organizational goals and objectives.

  1. Providing Leadership

The term Leadership defines as to influence others in such a manner as to guide them to do what the leader wants them to do. Leadership plays an important role in directing. Only through this leadership skill, a manager can develop trust and zeal among his subordinates. Therefore it leads to guide and provide overall counselling to subordinates in the best way for achieving their objectives and also for the organization.

  1. Communicating with Subordinates

It refers to an act of transferring facts, ideas, feeling, etc. from one person to another and making him understand them. A manager has to continuously t guides and also at the same time, monitors his subordinates about what to do, how to do, and when to do various things.

Also, it is very essential to know their reactions. To do all this it becomes essential to develop effective telecommunication facilities. Therefore, the essential feature is to communicate with itself can be called by developing mutual understanding inculcates a sense of cooperation which builds an environment of coordination in the organization.

  1. Maintaining discipline and Rewarding Effective People

By maintaining an atmosphere of discipline and trust in the organization, the manager can easily give directions. So that the work done by his employees is in most efficient and effective manner.

In return, the employees will get a reward in the form of bonus, incentives and other perks so as to get themselves associated with the organization on a long-term basis.  Therefore, this element of direction also plays a very important role in achieving overall objectives of an organization.

Limitations of Directing

Like other social sciences, management is also subject to certain limitations. They are as follows:

  1. Management techniques and policies should be adjusted according to specific circumstances. One principle may be good for one enterprise, but it may not be suitable for another enterprise. Likewise, a technique may be extremely useful in England, but it may be unworkable in India.
  2. Principles of management are not static in nature. The concepts about management changes with the development of science and technology. New ideas are innovated, new products being put on the market, new likes and dislikes are developing every year. So what was successful in 2015 may lead to failure in 2016. Thus, a great deal of adjustment is to be done to cope with the changing times.
  3. Management is concerned with human element in an organization. Different groups and different persons even in the same group, behave differently under different circumstances. This human aspect of management provides the greater challenge to its scientific treatment. As written by 0liver Sheldon.

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