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Four Functions of Management: Planning, Organizing, Leading & Controlling

Chapter 1 / Lesson 4
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  • 1:52 Planning
  • 2:51 Organizing
  • 3:20 Leading
  • 4:00 Controlling
  • 4:46 Staffing
  • 5:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

A person who holds a management position inside an organization is required to think strategically and conceptually in order to achieve organizational goals. This lesson will describe the four functions of management and how they relate to organizational success.

The Four Functions of Managers

Management involves far more than just telling others what to do. Before any of you decide that you think you can do your boss's job, let's take a look into more of what a manager does.

The major functions that a manager completes can be categorized into four different functions known as planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. For some of us, we only see the final two - leading and controlling - but you should know that for every managerial behavior you do see, there is an equal amount that you do not. Behind the manager's closed door, he or she spends a good deal of his or her time planning and organizing so that he or she can effectively carry out the functions of leading and controlling.

Managers spend a good deal of time planning, leading, controlling and organizing.
manager

Now, before you think your boss is different, you should also know that the four functions of management are standard across industries, whether that be in a manufacturing plant, a home office, a grocery store, a retail store, a restaurant, a hotel, or even an amusement park. Effective managers understand how planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are used to achieve organizational success. Unfortunately, I do not have a rebuttal for those of you who have ineffective managers, but perhaps learning a little more about the four functions of management will help to identify what steps your ineffective manager needs to take to become an effective one.

Try to think about the four functions as a process where each step builds on the others. Managers must first plan, then organize according to that plan, lead others to work towards the plan, and finally evaluate the effectiveness of the plan. These four functions must be performed properly and, when done well, become the reason for organizational success.

Planning

The first of the managerial functions is planning. In this step the manager will create a detailed action plan aimed at some organizational goal.

For example, let's say Melissa the marketing manager has a goal of increasing sales during the month of February. Melissa needs to first spend time mapping out the necessary steps she and her team of sales representatives must take so that they can increase sales numbers. These steps might include things like increasing advertisements in a particular region, placing some items on sale, increasing the amount of required customer-to-sales rep contact, or contacting prior customers to see if they are interested in purchasing additional products. The steps are then organized into a logical pattern so that Melissa and her team can follow them.

Planning is an ongoing step and can be highly specialized based on organizational goals, division goals, departmental goals, and team goals. It is up to the manager to recognize which goals need to be planned within his or her individual area.

Organizing

The second of the managerial functions is organizing. This step requires Melissa to determine how she will distribute resources and organize her employees according to the plan. Melissa will need to identify different roles and ensure that she assigns the right amount of employees to carry out her plan. She will also need to delegate authority, assign work, and provide direction so that her team of sales representatives can work towards higher sales numbers without having barriers in their way.

Leading

The third function of management is leading. In this step, Melissa spends time connecting with her employees on an interpersonal level. This goes beyond simply managing tasks; rather, it involves communicating, motivating, inspiring, and encouraging employees towards a higher level of productivity. Not all managers are leaders. An employee will follow the directions of a manager because they have to, but an employee will voluntarily follow the directions of a leader because they believe in who he or she is as a person, what he or she stands for, and for the manner in which they are inspired by the leader.

Controlling

Controlling is the final function of management. Once a plan has been carried out the manager evaluates the results against the goals. If a goal is not being met, the manager must also take any necessary corrective actions to continue to work towards that goal.

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