A manager's job consists of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the resources of the organization. These resources include people, jobs or positions, technology, facilities and equipment, materials and supplies, information, and money. Managers work in a dynamic environment and must anticipate and adapt to challenges.
The job of every manager involves what is known as the functions of management: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. These functions are goal-directed, interrelated and interdependent. Planning involves devising a systematic process for attaining the goals of the organization. It prepares the organization for the future. Organizing involves arranging the necessary resources to carry out the plan. It is the process of creating structure, establishing relationships, and allocating resources to accomplish the goals of the organization. Directing involves the guiding, leading, and overseeing of employees to achieve organizational goals. Controlling involves verifying that actual performance matches the plan. If performance results do not match the plan, corrective action is taken.
Henri Fayol, the father of the school of Systematic Management, was motivated to create a theoretical foundation for a managerial educational program based on his experience as a successful managing director of a mining company. In his day, managers had no formal training and he observed that the increasing complexity of organizations would require more professional management. Fayol's legacy is his generic Principles of Management.
Of Fayol's six generic activities for industrial undertakings (technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting, managerial), the most important were The Five Functions of Management that focused on the key relationships between personnel and its management. The Five Functions are:
Drawing up plans of actions that combine unity, continuity, flexibility and precision given the organization's resources, type and significance of work and future trends. Creating a plan of action is the most difficult of the five tasks and requires the active participation of the entire organization. Planning must be coordinated on different levels and with different time horizons;
Providing capital, personnel and raw materials for the day-to-day running of the business, and building a structure to match the work. Organizational structure depends entirely on the number of employees. An increase in the number of functions expands the organization horizontally and promotes additional layers of supervision;
Optimizing return from all employees in the interest of the entire enterprise. Successful managers have personal integrity, communicate clearly and base their judgments on regular audits. Their thorough knowledge of personnel creates unity, energy, initiative and loyalty and eliminates incompetence;
Unifying and harmonizing activities and efforts to maintain the balance between the activities of the organization as in sales to production and procurement to production. Fayol recommended weekly conferences for department heads to solve problems of common interest;