Planning, organizing and staffing prepare the enterprise for work. But no results can be attained unless the plans are implemented. Direction initiates action and puts the organisation into motion. It is, therefore, the life spark of an enterprise.
Direction consists of guiding, supervising and motivating the subordinates towards the achievement of planned goals. It implies moving to action. It is the process by which actual performance of subordinates is guided towards common goals.
According to Terry, directing means moving to action and supplying stimulating power to group of persons. In the words of Massie, “directing concerns the total manner in which a manager influences the actions of subordinates. It is the final action of a manager in getting others to act after all preparations have been completed”.
Direction deals with interpersonal relations. It is the catalyst that makes things happen. It converts plans into performance. It is the ‘doing or implementing phase’ of management.
Supervision, communication, motivation and leadership are the important elements of direction.
Supervision implies expert overseeing of subordinates -at work in order to guide and regulate their efforts. Every manager has to supervise the work of his subordinates to see that they do their work as desired. Supervision is one important element of the process of directing.
But supervision is particularly important at the operating level of management. The supervisor is in direct personal contact with the workers and he acts as the link between workers and management. He communicates the policies, plans and orders of management to the workers.
He also brings workers’ grievances, suggestions and appeals to the notice of management. Effective supervision is essential for the accomplishment of desired goals.
The purpose of supervision is to ensure that subordinates perform their tasks according to prescribed procedures and as efficiently as possible.
Communication involves exchange of ideas and information in order to create mutual understanding. It is a sys thematic process of telling, listening and understanding. A Manager has to explain the plans and orders to his subordinates and to understand their problems.
He must develop a sound two-way communication system so as to be always in touch with his subordinates. Sound communication fosters mutual understanding and coordination among different units of the organisation.
Motivation implies inspiring the subordinates to work with zeal and confidence. No administrative action can succeed unless the subordinates are motivated to contribute their best efforts to the common task.
In order to activate and actuate his subordinates to work in the desired manner, a manager has to make use of appropriate incentives. Various financial and non-financial incentives are available to a manager for this purpose. Motivation is a continuous process of understanding and satisfying human needs.
Leadership is the process of guiding and influencing subordinates for the accomplishment of desired goals. It involves the integration of organizational interests with personal goals. A person can be an effective manager when he possesses the qualities of a good leader.
It is through leadership that a manager can build up confidence and zeal among his subordinates. In order to guide his subordinates in the desired direction, a manager should adopt an appropriate style of leadership. The pattern and quality of leadership determines the level of motivation. Leadership is always related to a particular situation.