What is Directing Function of Management?

Instructing, guiding, supervising and influencing people enabling them to achieve organizational objectives is called directing. In the process of directing, employees are coached to develop communication and are encouraged to accomplish their goals.

Directing is a key element in the process of management. After formulating the plans for accomplishing the pre-determined goals, the organizational structure is prepared and suitable persons are designated to appropriate roles, and the organization commences its operations. However, necessary actions will only initiate after a command in chief provides direction to the higher-level management.

According to Earnest Dale, “Directing is what has to be done and in what manner through dictating the procedures and policies for accomplishing performance standards“.

Only after understanding a few concepts related to organization, effective direction can be ensured. These concepts relate to (i) Aims, objectives, and plans of the organization by each individual manager; (ii) The organization and its elements; (iii) Policies, procedures and rules under which the organization will operate, and the reasons thereof; (iv) Major problems that are faced by the concern and particularly what each manager can do to solve the problem; and (v) Complete and up-to-date information on significant factors such as business forecasts, changes in policies, procedures etc.

Importance of Directing Function of Management

Directing or Direction function is usually considered the central point for any organization around which objectives are achieved. Experts call Direction as “Life spark of an enterprise”. It is also referred to as an actuating function of management since direction is necessary for initiation of operations of an enterprise. Being at the center of all enterprise activities, it ensures numerous benefits to any organization, which are as follows:-

It Initiates Actions

Directing as a function is the primary starting point of the work operations for executioners. Direction initiates action, as executioners understand their roles and start as per the instructions laid for them. Directing function is closer to implementation than planning, it is a post-planning stage.

It Ingrates Efforts

By providing direction, the superiors coach, influence and instruct their subordinates to work. Direction can relate the efforts of different departments to each other and promote integration amongst them. Persuasive leadership and effective communication play a significant role in inculcating integration. Integration of efforts helps in bringing overall effectiveness and stability in operations.

Means of Motivation

Effective managers/ directors utilize directing function as an element of motivation for the employees and improvise their work performances. For instance, incentives or compensation are usually used as motivating tools, whether monetary or non – monetary, such measures should act as a “Morale booster” for the employees. For any organization, motivated employees are best considered as the mantra of success.

It Provides Stability

Directing ensures stability and balance in an organization which is necessary for long-term survival in the market. Managers utilize four following tools or elements of direction function – a judicious blend of persuasive leadership, effective communication, strict supervision and efficient motivation.

Coping up with the changes

A natural human instinct is to resist to any change. However, adapting to the changing environment is required for growing in a business and achieving ambitious goals. It is directing function which is of use to meet with changes in the environment, both internal as external. Further, effective communication also helps in coping up with the changes.

Manager’s role is to clearly communicate the nature of changes, their probable impact on the employees. This should help in easier adaptation and smoother running of the organization. For instance, if a company is shifting from electrical to solar power, this is an important and significant change in technique of power, the enterprise and production are fed with.

The resulting factors include renewed training of employees on how to work with the new power system. This may not be easily accepted by the subordinates since they view it is an extra effort on their part. The manager has to come forward and explain the longer-term benefits of the shift and the impact it would add to the repute of the brand and it is a shift that employees should be proud of in the outside world.

Efficient Utilization of Resources

Directing should aim utilizing the resources judiciously avoiding any wastages, overlapping efforts, unfair practices, any loopholes. Also, mapping right resource to right job is important. Timing should be critically used by any manager, few jobs should be taken care of at a very opportune time and it is necessary to align adequate resources for the job accordingly. This helps in extracting maximum value from those efforts helping the firm grow organically.

It is quite evident from the above discussion, that direction remains the heart of management process. Its function is to pump guidance and motivation to all parts of the organization and ensure a healthy environment.