What Are the Four Functions of Management? (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 14, 2022 | Published August 17, 2021

Updated October 14, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Every company relies on its management to excel and remain profitable. As a result, companies require their managers to plan, organize, lead, and control every aspect of the organization. Understanding the various functions of a manager can help you effectively manage a team. In this article, we explore the four functions of management, discuss the different management styles, and provide useful tips to help you excel when executing these functions.

What is a manager?

A manager is a member of the management team responsible for coordinating a team and helping them achieve goals. The goal of a manager is to increase the efficiency of the team by organizing tasks and monitoring individual performance. In addition, they ensure that every element of the company functions optimally to achieve both company and individual goals.

Related: Top Management Skills Every Manager Needs

What are the four functions of management?

Here are the four functions of management in every organization:

1. Decision-making and planning

Planning is the primary function of the management team since they're responsible for establishing organizational goals. They also create a clear plan to achieve these goals. During this stage, management usually makes strategic decisions to identify organizational direction. They can then brainstorm about the ways to achieve these goals effectively and efficiently by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the business, considering its vision and mission, and identifying the resources necessary.

The management team also assesses both external and internal factors that can affect the achievement of these goals. For example, internal factors can include employee expertise, financial resources, and market penetration. In contrast, external factors can include economic growth, customers' purchasing power, and market competitors. Afterwards, they establish a reasonable timeline to achieve their goals based on these factors. The management team then informs other organizational stakeholders such as the head of departments, board of directors, and other executives before implementing the plan.

Read more: What Are Decision-Making Skills and How To Improve Them

2. Organizing

Organizing is another critical function of the management team, and it involves distributing the company's resources to employees to achieve identified goals. It also involves delegating tasks to employees and creating a structure to monitor and ensure the completion of those tasks. Usually, during this phase, managers create a conducive work environment that can promote productivity. For instance, managers need to consider both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation during the organizing stage. They also have to consider employee suitability to tasks to ensure that they can maximize their human resources.

Managers work to ensure that employees understand their role and how it contributes to overall business success. This helps promote a sense of accountability among employees. As a manager, you also need to ensure that employees have adequate time to produce high-quality results. Beyond this, organizing sometimes includes re-evaluating existing plans and designing and implementing changes where needed. For example, organizing involves a company's brand manager assessing and hiring advertising agencies to execute a product launch. It can also include the management team hiring new employees to cater to the company's expansion into a new province.

Read more: Developing Proficient Organizational Skills

3. Leading

Managers lead an organization, including motivating employees to achieve business goals and objectives. These responsibilities also extend to influencing employee behaviour to ensure they conform to workplace expectations. The focus of managers under this category includes managing the general workforce by giving orders and directions. Successful managers can connect and maintain a positive and balanced relationship with their employees. This is because effective management of an organization's human resources is vital to its growth and continued productivity.

Managers also strive to reinforce positive employee activities. This can include praising employees to improve their morale, and offering extra benefits, such as awards like "employee of the month" and "employee of the year." Usually, to achieve the best results, managers adopt various management and leadership styles. Some managers may adopt situational leadership, where they direct, coach, support, and delegate tasks to employees.

4. Controlling

The final function of a management team is controlling the organization, which involves plan evaluations and adjustments to ensure the company realizes its goals. During this stage, managers monitor existing employees and evaluate their work. They achieve this through performance appraisals, giving employees feedback regarding their delivery, along with recommendations for improvement. They also conduct training to ensure employees can continually deliver quality work and meet deadlines.

Managers also make budgeting and staffing adjustments to ensure the company's viability. For instance, with budget adjustments, managers ensure they maximize available resources for the company's benefit. They also ensure teams stay within their budgetary limit by making necessary cuts and amendments. Management regularly conducts staffing adjustments and determines whether to reassign employees to other projects. They also determine when to increase staff to meet existing goals, usually consulting with relevant executive stakeholders.

Types of management styles

As a manager, here are some of the management styles you can adopt when performing any of the management functions:

Authoritative

This requires managers to adopt a top-down strategy and decide on issues themselves. They establish rules, delegate jobs, and create clear expectations for employees. Authoritative managers may not always request feedback from employees. While this style works best for quick decision-making, it may lead to dissatisfied employees.

Persuasive

This requires managers to handle decision-making alone in a team, although they persuade employees by providing reasons for their approach. This ensures that employees feel part of the decision-making process despite them being absent from it. In addition, it creates an environment of trust between the manager and employees, leading to improved performance.

Collaborative

This requires managers to establish an open forum while working closely with team members during decision-making. The goal is to ensure team members take responsibility for decision-making. Usually, while this leads to increased productivity and respect for managers, the decision-making process might take longer.

Transformational

This requires managers to focus on employee and company growth in their decision-making process. Transformational managers encourage their staff to achieve exceptional accomplishments. Usually, this management style promotes innovation.

Tips to perform management functions effectively

Follow these tips to ensure that you effectively perform management functions:

Planning tips

Most of your planning responsibilities involve identifying company goals and timelines and processes to achieve them. Some tips to help you perform your planning functions effectively are:

  • Identify the organization's strengths and weaknesses, existing opportunities, and likely threats to business objectives. You can use SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses and consider external and internal factors.

  • Set a reasonable timeline when identifying the company's objectives and ensure you're balanced with pessimism and ambition. This ensures you avoid unnecessary pressure on employees while remaining competitive.

  • Analyze existing and likely competitors when designing your company strategy. Ensure you consider the pros and cons of various management strategies and predict how these competitors might react to your strategies before adopting them.

  • Review the proposed plan with the company's leadership. Identify its viability to meet both short-term and long-term goals.

  • Communicate the details of new tasks and projects to team members. Monitor their performance to ensure individual progress.

Organizing tips

Organizational functions involve creating a productive environment for employees. Some tips to help you perform your organizing functions efficiently are:

  • Identify individual obligations before assigning tasks to employees. This ensures each team member understands their role and how it relates to the overall company objectives.

  • Define each manager's and supervisor's responsibilities across different departments. This helps ensure a clear reporting structure.

  • Consider modifying the existing timeline or task reallocation from an employee or team to another. This can help the team stay on course to meet its business goals and objectives.

  • Consider the pros and cons of modifying a team's internal structure and their roles to meet the company's needs. Changing the structure may result in a better, more efficient workflow.

Read more: Understanding a Matrix Organizational Structure

Leading tips

Good leadership is essential to achieving a company's objectives and goals. Here are some leadership tips to ensure effective performance of management functions:

  • Recognize individual team needs. For instance, an employee may need a form of positive reinforcement. You can create reward systems to automate this process and ensure objectivity.

  • Foster creativity among team members. One way to do this is by challenging them to achieve tasking but attainable goals.

  • Resolve team conflicts while maintaining independence, fairness, and objectivity. This helps you display appropriate characteristics and behaviour and act as a model for team members.

  • Develop excellent communication skills. Convey information about your vision to your team members.

  • Inform team members you welcome their contributions and ideas. This can increase their sense of responsibility and help them stay motivated and inspired.

Controlling tips

The focus of the controlling stage is to aid in the realization of company goals. Here are some controlling tips to help you:

  • Create standards that are based on available information and account for both internal and external factors that can affect performance.

  • Mandate managers across all departments to monitor individual and team performance and identify means of improvement.

  • Identify unexpected deviation or drop in the efficiency or quality of employee delivery.

  • Invest in employee training to ensure employees have clear expectations and knowledge of how to improve their workplace performance.

Related: How To Improve Your Management Skills

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