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The Functions of Management
Management is the process of directing and allocating human and physical resources to complete the goals of any group effort, whether it is in a corporation or a volunteer group. According to Bateman and Snell, management consists of four basic functions; planning, organizing, leading and controlling. (2004, p14) In order to effectively and efficiently manage a function, one needs to understand the difference between them. That function could be the completion of a major corporate project or the ongoing goals and responsibilities of my personal life.
The first function is planning. Planning is determining the goals and deciding what has to be done to achieve these goals. It will include analyzing all the resources available whether they are materials, knowledge-based or human. During the planning stage management needs to divide the project in to smaller parts and determine which parts have to be completed before others. I use the planning stage to determine my goals and how I want to achieve them. I decide which goals need to be reached first and create plan to complete them. On a daily, weekly and monthly basis, I determine what needs to be completed and what resources will be required to effectively reach my immediate deadlines, whether personal, business or for education.
Once completing the planning stage, the manager has a list of resources needed to complete the project. Now it is time to organize, which starts with acquiring everything needed to go ahead. The manager may have to build the team to work on the project, or organize the people she has available to her to the right parts of the project. Raw materials may have to be purchased or produced. The skill sets, materials and people need to be analyzed so that they are divided up for maximum efficiency in each unit of the project. In my own personal organization, it is usually quite a bit easier because most of the time I am the only human resource I have to consider. What knowledge I will need to complete my tasks I will acquire through research using the vast amount of knowledge resources available to me. I will then acquire whatever raw resources I need and decide how I will divide them among the projects I have to complete.
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Now that the manager has a plan and has organized her resources, she must take charge and lead her employees to perform well. "Leading is directing, motivating and communicating with employees, individually and in groups." (Bateman and Snell, 2004, p15) During the function of leading it is important for a leader to be in contact with her team, directing them toward completing the specific tasks properly to complete the team goal. (Bateman and Snell, 2004, p15) The leader needs to discuss the plan with the team and share as much information about the final goal as possible. The goal is to motivate the members of the team to complete the common goal. Leading is one of the most important steps in every type of organization. In the simplest of teams, where the function of the team is repetitious and the planning and organizing function is the same every time (such as the annual fundraising drive for a small volunteer group), leading becomes the main function of management. In more elaborate projects, the leading function is the most important for making sure the team understands the goals management and stays motivated. Leading in my own life is personified in self-discipline. I know what I want and how I want to get it done, the only leading priority left is to keep myself motivated.
During the ongoing process of the project, the product of the team efforts needs to be analyzed to make sure management's goals are realized. Controlling, the final function, "monitors progress and implements necessary changes." (Bateman and Snell, 2004, p16) During the controlling stage, the manager determines whether or not the goals will be achieved as planned. Changes are made wherever needed, whether to improve the quality of a specific unit's work, or to reallocate excess resources to other project units that may need them more. Here, in my life, I look over my achievements by checking my completed task lists and determining the quality in which I use my personal time resources. Here I can decided where to allocate more personal time to one or another function, or to relaxing.
All these functions will be performed simultaneously and in random order, depending on how many projects a manager is controlling and how many changes need to made all the way. Management is a dynamic process that requires careful completion of many specific functions.
Bateman, T. S., Snell, S. (2004). Managing. Management: The New Competitive Landscape (6th ed, pp. 14-16). New York: Mc-Graw-Hill.