Definition: Directing is an action-oriented function of management, in which the superior communicates with and provides leadership to their subordinates about what to do and how to do it, while motivating them to give their best in the performance of the task, and observing them that they do it in the manner specified, so as to ensure quality in the achievement of organizational objectives.
Characteristics of Directing
- It is the function of the management which leads to actual working or execution of the tasks. And so, direction leads to action.
- Directing is an all-pervasive function, which takes place at all levels of management.
- It is an ongoing process, as it continues throughout the life of an organization.
- The flow of direction is from top to bottom, i.e. it begins at the top level and moves to the lowest level, following the defined hierarchy.
- In directing, a manager has to deal with a number of employees, whose nature, qualifications, abilities and efficiencies are different. So, it involves human-factor, wherein the manager has to get the work done from them, by giving the right set of instructions and tackling each employee in a suitable way.
Directing begins with giving orders and instructions to the subordinates, concerning the designated tasks, which ends with getting the task done by them in an optimum way and appreciating them for their efforts as well as motivating them for the next task. It guides individuals to use their complete potential and capabilities.
Directing tends to integrate employees efforts in the form of their contribution to the organization’s performance. Hence, it makes sure that every individual in the organization works for the accomplishment of organizational goals.
Principles of Directing
- Harmony of Objectives: Harmonization of objectives of the members of the organization is the basic principle of directing. The objectives of the employees need to be synchronized with the objectives of the enterprise in order to ensure maximum gain for the employers and the employees as well.A manager needs to stimulate the sense of belongingness in employees towards the organization and observe that the employees perceive themselves as a part of the organization.
- Unity of Command: This principle of directing says that the subordinates should receive orders from and report to one superior, called as the immediate boss. Dual subordination may lead to chaos, confusion and disorder, in them and so there must be a unified system of directions, orders, command and instructions.
- Unity of Direction: According to this principle, there should be a single plan for a range of activities, lead by only one head, to attain the objectives. Hence, all those activities that are oriented towards a similar objective are to look after by one manager.
- Direct Supervision: Direct Supervision by managers when accompanied by personal touch especially in work-related areas, often boosts the employee’s morale and develops a sense of belongingness and active participation in them. This ultimately increases employee satisfaction and also helps in the effective functioning of the organization.
- Appropriate Leadership: Leadership is the process of leading or say influencing the followers to perform the designated tasks in an effective way. And to do so, appropriate leadership style is to be adopted by the manager to lead the employees.Further, the direction is said to be more effective, when the leader gives respect to the ideas and views of his followers and also attempts to include them in work-related or job-related matters. In this way, the managers can get a contribution from the employee’s side also, in the accomplishment of designated tasks.
- Follow-up: Direction is not just about issuing orders and instructions to the employees and getting the work done by them, within the given time, rather taking follow-up of their work is also as important as assigning the tasks.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the heads of the department to look after the working and performance of the employees working under them. Along with that, they need to guide them whenever and wherever required, to help them in choosing the right course of action and act accordingly, tell them about their mistakes and suggest them about the ways to correct those mistakes.