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Principles and Elements of Directing

Last Updated : 27 Feb, 2024
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Directing is the managerial function of guiding, inspiring, instructing, and harnessing people towards the accomplishment of the desired results. Directing includes issuing orders and instructions that are clear and complete; continuing guidance and supervision to ensure that the assigned tasks are carried out effectively and efficiently; maintaining discipline and rewarding subordinates; inspiring subordinates to work hard for the achievement of goals.

Principles of  Directing

Effective directing is an art, that a superior can learn through practice. However, managers or superiors can follow some principles while directing. 

  • Maximum Individual Contribution: This principle says that the directing function should create self-confidence amongst the subordinates and motivate them so that they give their best to the organisation. Objectives of an organisation are achieved at the optimum level only when every individual in the organisation makes a maximum contribution. Therefore managers should try to elicit the maximum possible contribution from each subordinate. It is the duty of the managers to explore and find out the hidden talents of the subordinates. For example, timely rewarding the workers can motivate them to contribute maximum towards the organisation’s goals.
  • Harmony of Objectives: This principle says that management should harmonise the individuals’ objectives with organisational objectives. Every individual joins the organisation to satisfy their needs both their physiological and psychological needs. They are expected to work for the achievement of organisational goals. They will perform their tasks better if they feel that it will satisfy their personal goals too. Therefore managers should harmonise or reconcile the personal goals of employees with the organisational goals.
  • Unity of Command: According to this principle, each subordinate should receive orders and instructions from one superior only. If a subordinate is made accountable to two bosses simultaneously, there will be confusion, conflict, disorder and indiscipline in the organisation. Therefore, every subordinate should report to one manager only.
  • Appropriateness of Direction Techniques: According to this the manager should use correct direction techniques to ensure the efficiency of direction. The techniques used should be suitable for subordinates, organisation and the situation. Goals can be accomplished only when an efficient direction is given.
  • Managerial Communication: According to this, there should be a systematic flow of communication between the superiors and subordinates to achieve the goals of the organisation. A good system of communication between the superior and subordinates helps to achieve mutual understanding. Upward communication, i.e., taking feedback from the subordinates helps a manager to understand the subordinates and allows the subordinates to express their feelings. So proper feedback is needed from the subordinates.
  • Strategic Use of Informal Organisation: Management should try to identify, understand and use informal groups to strengthen formal and official relationships to improve the effectiveness of direction.
  • Effective Leadership: According to this principle, managers should exercise good leadership while directing the subordinates. They should act as leaders so that they can influence the activities of subordinates to achieve the goals of the organisation. As leaders, they should guide and council subordinates in their personal problems too to win the confidence and trust of their subordinates.
  • Direct Supervision: Direction becomes more effective when there is a direct personal contact between the superior and his subordinates. Morale and commitment of employees are improved through direct contact. Therefore, direct supervision should be used wherever possible.
  • Principle of Follow through: After issuing orders and instructions, the subordinates must be monitored. A manager should find out whether the subordinates are working properly and the problems they are facing regularly because directing is a continuous process. He should act accordingly after following through with the activities of the subordinates. 

Elements of Directing

There are four elements of directing:

  • Supervision: ‘Supervision’ is made from two words: Super and Vision. Super means over or above, and vision means overseeing employees at work. Instructing, guiding and observing the subordinates at work to ensure that they are working as per the plans and to help them in solving their problem is known as supervision.  It serves as a link between workers and management and helps in improving performance. 
  • Motivation: The term ‘Motivation‘ is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’, which means to move. The process of stimulating and inspiring people at work to contribute to the best of their capabilities for the achievement of organisational goals is known as Motivation. Because of Motivation, the efforts of an individual or group are energised.
  • Leadership: The process of influencing the behaviour of people towards the achievement of organisational goals is known as Leadership. The ability to maintain good interpersonal relations with the followers and motivate them to contribute to achieving organisational objectives is leadership. 
  • Communication: The term ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin word ‘communis’, which means common, which implies common understanding. The process of exchange of ideas, views, facts, feeling, etc., between two or more persons is known as communication. Communication acts as a basis of coordination and helps in the smooth functioning of an enterprise.

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