Management is one term that we hear all the time.
Because of how frequently we hear and talk about it, we think that we already fully understand what it means.
But do we really?
In this article, I will help you gain a better understanding of what management is all about by diving deeply into the five elements of management, as explained by Henri Fayol.
How is Management Defined and What are Its Basic Elements?
According to Wikipedia, management encompasses all the activities needed to set the strategy of an organization, and coordinate the efforts of all its members to accomplish all of its objectives with the use of their available technological, human, financial, and natural resources.
To put it simply, management is ensuring that all of the resources of the company will be maximized and utilized to achieve the completion of its goals.
From this definition, it may seem simple. But in reality, management can get quite confusing and overwhelming.
Lucky for us, we have Henri Fayol.
He is one of the first theorists who defined the functions of management in his book entitled, “Administration Industrielle et Generale.”
According to him, the five elements of the management process are planning, organizing, controlling, commanding, and coordinating.
Each is unique, but they are all related to one another.
What are the 5 Functions of Management?
Henri Fayol was a director of a mining company. During his time, most managers had little or no formal training.
The only guidelines that they had were the management theories that they would come up with on their own.
The 5 functions of the management process that Fayol developed are considered to be as relevant today as they were when he created them.
Let’s take a closer look at these five elements.
Simply put, planning is coming up with strategies and techniques on how to achieve business goals.
To create a plan, one must look towards the future.
Establishing a plan requires assessing contingencies that may affect the organization in the future and developing an operational plan that corresponds to it.
The company plan must be made with continuity in mind.
According to Fayol, creating a plan is the most challenging function in the management process.
The manager and his staff should work together in doing this.
For the plan to work, the time and implementation of the plan control must be appropriately coordinated at all the related levels of the company.
An organization can only move forward and achieve success if it is properly organized around its plan.
It is the responsibility of the manager to align and structure company operations based on the size of their workforce and the goals of the business.
Moreover, they also have to ensure that there will be sufficient resources to facilitate an operational work structure.
To do this, managers must first identify what main activities are required in their plan and choose the right people to do those.
If there is no suitable person for the job, it is also the manager’s task to train and educate someone to take that critical position.
For this element, the head of the organization has four functions—communication, leadership, supervision, and motivation.
Even if there’s an organized plan control, all of these efforts will be put to waste if the staff are not properly informed about it.
With that in mind, another function of the manager is to communicate to his staff the company plan, goals, policies, and the staff’s roles and responsibilities in the daily operations.
Commanding is also directing.
It is the role of the manager to lead and guide their staff to help in achieving the company goals.
In addition to giving detailed instructions to their subordinates, a leader should also monitor their performance and help, motivate, and encourage staff to take initiative and see the plan through to the end.
As a commanding authority, the leader should treat all employees in line with the company policies and standards.
Once the workforce is properly informed, motivated, and organized, the next element the organization head should focus on is the procedures that the company performs.
They must make sure that the activities of each organizational unit do not only complement but even reinforce one another—all centered around the company plan.
The leader also has the responsibility to control the operation and workforce of the organization and make sure that everything is in alignment with the company objectives.
Creating a plan control requires a four step process. These are as follows:
- Establish performance standards in line with the company’s objectives.
- Measure and create reports on the organization’s actual performance.
- Compare the performance results against the established standards.
- If the gap between the standards and performance is vast, the leader should take the necessary preventive or corrective control measures to bring back control of the company’s resources.
Gaining a Better Perspective of the Management Process
Plan, organize, command, command, coordinate, control.
The five elements in the management process that we have tackled in this article emphasize the relationship between the managers and their staff.
These also offer a more organized approach to answer any question or solve any problem.
While these elements may not completely illustrate the complex issues that managers face daily, they do provide an overview of what kind of responsibilities a manager should prioritize in their daily operations.
What do you think?
Which of the 5 elements is most important?
Or which do you struggle to control the most?
Let me know in the comments.