In being an employee for one of the largest business advisory services within the country - Ernst & Young – who employ over a hundred thousand people around the world, people expect me to be a good planner, a good critical thinker and decision maker, an effective leader, and an implementer. Management within this company relies on these functions, as well as other large organizations such as Philip Morris, Citibank and KPMG to name only a few. While my management will have special requirements to align with the aims of the company, many managerial qualities would be applicable for a range of these similar companies that compete in the global marketplace. They are hence worth evaluation.
A manager within a demanding profession needs to know the various management functions, and to outline the key skills for these functions. The easiest management definition is the combination of components such as organization, planning, control over subordinates and other resources, leadership, and other similar functions with the overall purpose to reach certain goals with given deadlines. These definitions of management are common, there are now four formal functions of management. And managers who ensure that they meet these functions will greatly help themselves to successfully handle their objectives. My experience of management has shown me that the process of management is always evolving in subtle ways, and is ever continuous. This is why the four functions – organization, leadership, control and planning need to be fulfilled in a systematic and continuous manner for the length of time leading up to a given objective. It serves to give a clearer definition of each of the four management functions.
Planning is one of the fundamental functions of management, and simply put, if you are not a natural planner, then learning how to do so will be imperative. Planning means that a manager needs to think in advance of the things needed to achieve the set goal, so that important arrangements can be made in a timely manner, and the question of what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done can be decided upon. While i drew my plans, i set the future goals as the benchmark. Plans need to be differentiated into timescales, such as the difference in goals between now and 7 days time, and as far away as 10 years time. The fulfillment of longer term plans means understanding what your goals are for the medium term, such as two or three year goals. But in setting medium term goals, you realize that short term goals must be set, right down to operational planning on a day to day basis. Therefore to realize your long term goals you must be highly aware of the short term goals.
Planning is an effective procedure, but planning on its own is often not enough to achieve objectives, unless organization is implemented. The best way to organize in my experience is to allocate work and resources properly between fellow employees and subordinates, in such a way as to make the achievement of plans reliable. Once organization is implemented, the process of work requires a good leader to direct it.
Financial organizations such as Ernst & Young are unlike many industrial companies, in that they have humans to do the work and not machines. Humans are certainly not like machines, and as such, if a manager's objectives are to be fulfilled, then effective leadership and motivation is required to keep morale high, and ensure that subordinates are willing to work and to achieve higher. Leadership is all about setting an example, providing the basis of motivation and for good communication between employees. Good leadership also ensures enthusiasm and interest for the task at hand. A poor leader can often make work seem boring, and because employees won't look up to a bad leader, they will have less incentive to do good work and get deadlines completed. Permanent motivation is important for an efficient organization, and good leaders are the ones to ensure this.
The process of control means the insurance that all business activities are moving correctly towards the end objectives, such as planning, organization and leadership. Having control over your leadership, your planning and your organization, to ensure that integration is achieved is paramount in good business practice. The manager needs to take care in evaluating the ongoing requirements and performance of the team in question, to ensure that performance is at the right level, to essentially ensure that things are going the right way, and are effective. Control also means handling situations where deadlines or goals are not met, which includes corrective procedures to get things back on track.
In conclusion, the four management functions need to be implemented accurately and efficiently to ensure the livelihood of the business.
Dessler Gary, Management: Leading People and Organizations in the 21st Century. Third Edition, Prentice Hall, Inc. 2003