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What is Directing Function of Management?

Every one once in a while comes across the problem of identifying how really to proceed with something. What “Direction” is to be taken and what is to be done. In businesses also these situations arise on a daily basis, where a manager has to decide how things has to progress, and what is to be done. A process or function closely related to determining how you proceed with the business operations is referred to as Direction.

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.

Direction is a management function that is carried out primarily at higher levels of management and on the basis of which permeates down into the lower levels. It is a continuous process that exists as long as the business exists and is that function that initiates and commences action towards a set objective or goal. It gives meaning to organisation and planning by bringing together the entire organisation to the task of achieving a goal

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.

Direction as a function is composed of 4 important and interdependent elements :

  • Supervision

Supervision refers to a process by which a superior oversees and ensures the work done by his subordinates conform to predetermined requirements and standards. Supervision is done especially at lower levels of management when there are functions such as Factory Overseeing etc to be done.

  • Motivation

Motivation is that process of inducing in a person the will to do something in return for something he wants. Motivation often lies at the basis of direction as people do not act unless they have a good reason to and motivation gives them that much required reason.

  • Leadership

Not everyone can do everything in the beginning. Sometimes you need an extra push to do it. That extra push is often given by leaders. Leadership plays a key role in performing the above mentioned elements of direction. It revolves the personal quality of a person and is something that cannot be taught but learnt.

  • Communication

Communication is something that is pertinent to most managerial functions including direction. If the employee is not able to communicate his needs, a manager cannot motivate him. If the upper level management doesn’t communicate the current status of operations the lower level manager will fail in getting his things sorted. The importance of communication cannot be overstated

Importance of Directing Function of Management

Directing or Direction function is usually considered the central point for any organization around which objectives are achieved. Being at the center of all enterprise activities, it ensures numerous benefits to any organization, which are as follows:-

Makes the organisation goal oriented

Planning as we all know lays down goals. But the mere laying down of goals isn’t enough. It is directing in terms of those goals that gets them achieved. It  is that process that retains the goal oriented-ness with which the business process begins. If not for direction the business will proceed in hap hazard manners thereby making all other processes difficult and also making the business fragile.

Creates a motivated workforce

As already discussed above, motivation acts a sub set of the broader function of direction. Direction ensures that the workforce is motivated and remains motivated. This is so because the process will be successful only with the effort of motivated people and motivated people is the secret of a budding effective business. Thus managers pay extra attention to motivating workers while directing the business.

Ensures conformity and facilitates Controlling and Coordination

Direction as stated above deals with specifying what to do. Thus direction lays down the benchmark on what is to be expected from a person or a process. This instruction or direction given ensures such tasks and effort conform to goals. The benchmark so created allows for coordination whereby other tasks can aligned to make a congruous whole and controlling whereby one better understands where and what went wrong in the entire framework.

Initiates Action

Direction is the process that kicks the plan into motion by using the resources organised and humans staffed to achieve what is envisioned in the plan. It is the stepping stone to carrying out business processes which till then remain only on paper.

It creates adaptability

A business has to cope with constant changes in its environment. Direction plays a key role in ensuring that a business is capable of adjusting and adapting to such changes by understanding the environment and by relaying suitable information. Such instructions at the right point of time allows for meeting various contingencies and ensures the business isn’t knocked off its feet.

Ensures Employee Discipline

Direction goes a long way in ensuring employee discipline. It involves the process of giving an instruction and the instruction being unconditionally followed. Such conformity with instructions is ensured by controlling, however it cannot exist in isolation without direction which is the source of the instruction. This ensures that the employee doesn’t stray away from what is to be done and keeps him disciplined.

The process of directing thus becomes the heart of the managing process and acts as a link connecting the functions of Planning, Organizing and Staffing with Controlling and Coordination and other managerial functions. Its function is to pump guidance and motivation to all parts of the organization and ensure a healthy environment.

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About Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.