Directing: Meaning, Characteristics and Importance
What is Directing?
The process of instructing, guiding, counselling, motivating, and leading people in an organisation to achieve the organisational goals is known as Directing.
Directing not only includes order and instructions by a superior to the subordinates but also includes guiding and inspiring them. It encompassed many elements like motivation, leadership, supervision, besides communication. It is a managerial function which is performed throughout the life of an organisation.
In the words of Ernest Dale,” Direction is telling people what to do and seeing that they do it to the best of their ability”.
In the words of Theo Haimann,” Directing consists of the process and techniques utilised in issuing instructions and making certain that operations are carried on as originally planned”.
After planning, organising the structure of the organisation and arranging the necessary human force, the next important step is directing. Directing aims to ensure that activities of all the employees are mobilised towards the organisational goals. It is the connecting link between the functions of management, i.e., planning, organising, staffing and controlling.
Features or Characteristics of Directing
The characteristics of Directing are as follows:
- Directing initiates action: The other functions of management, i.e., planning, organising, staffing, etc., create conditions for managers to take appropriate actions, whereas directing function initiates actions in an organisation. It converts plans into action. It is the key managerial function performed by the managers.
- Directing is pervasive: It is pervasive as it takes place at every level of management. It takes place wherever superior-subordinate relations exist. Every manager has a subordinate who works under him and is responsible for getting things done.
- Directing is a continuous process: Directing is an ongoing activity. It takes place throughout the life of an organisation, irrespective of the people in the organisation. Managers give orders to their subordinates, motivate them, and guide them on a continuous basis.
- Directing flows from top to bottom: It flows from top to bottom through the organisational hierarchy. In directing, every manager directs his subordinates and takes instructions from his immediate boss. It is a function of a superior, i.e., the superior motivates, guides, and supervises his subordinates to achieve the organisational goals.
- Directing deals with people: It is concerned with the direction of human efforts towards organisational goals. It can be said that directing is a delicate function, as it deals with people, and human behaviour is complex and highly unpredictable.
Importance of Directing
The importance of directing are as follows:
- Directing Initiates action: Directing sets an organisation into motion, and helps other managerial functions to initiate and activate. It helps the managers to supervise, communicate, lead, guide and motivate the subordinates to achieve the organisational goals. For example, a superior guides his subordinates and explains the task, which will help the subordinates to start the work and achieve the goal.
- Directing leads to integrated group activity: The organisational objectives can be achieved only when individual efforts are integrated. Directing integrates employees’ efforts in such a way that every individual effort contributes to organisational performance. For example, a leader can convince his subordinates that group efforts will help to achieve organisational goals.
- Directing attempts to get maximum out of individuals: Directing helps superiors to realise the potential and identify the capabilities of individuals by motivating and guiding them. By using the elements of directing, i.e., supervision, motivation, leadership, and communication, the efficiency of employees can be raised.
- Directing helps to implement changes: Directing helps to introduce changes in an organisation. Generally, people in an organisation resist changes. Effective communication, supervision, motivation and guidance help to overcome such resistance at the workplace. For example, the introduction of a new method of doing a particular task in a factory is resisted by workers, but when managers explain the purpose, guide and provide them training and rewards, it can be easily accepted by the workers.
- Directing provides stability and balance in the organisation: Stability and balance are maintained in an organisation with the help of directing because it fosters cooperation and commitment amongst employees, and helps to achieve balance amongst various groups, departments, units, etc. For example, every individual has personal goals, but the managers integrate the efforts of all the individuals towards the achievement of organisational goals through guidance, motivation, supervision and communication.
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