Directing in Management


Directing is a very difficult task of management compared to all other functions because it is concerned with the human aspect of management. When all other preparations have been completed, the management has to begin the working of the concern.

Directing is the heart of management process. Planning, organising and staffing are merely preparations for doing the work and work actually starts when the directing is done. It is the directing function which initiates organised action. It ensures that subordinates do their work as expected.

Directing is a managerial function which is primarily concerned with influencing guiding, supervising and inspiring subordinates in a planned manner. It is performed by all managers of different levels of an organisation. It includes assignment of jobs, issuing of instructions and orders, supervising the subordinates and rectifying the errors in time.


The success of management is largely a matter of effective direction.

Learn about:-

1. Introduction to Directing 2. Meaning of Directing 3. Definitions 4. Concept 5. Nature 6. Features 7. Importance 8. Process 9. Function 10. Principles 11. Elements 12. Techniques 13. Roles 14. Essentials 15. Directing Activities 16. Benefits.

Directing in Management: Meaning, Definitions, Concept, Nature, Features, Importance, Process, Function and Principles

Directing in Management – Introduction

Directing is a very difficult task of management compared to all other functions because it is concerned with the human aspect of management. When all other preparations have been completed, the management has to begin the working of the concern.


For this, the management has to guide and instruct the staff to work in a manner desired by the concern. This part of management function is known as ‘directing.’ Direction is also called ‘Management in Action.’

Direction in simple words, is instructing the subordinates to follow certain process to attain a given objective. It is getting the work done through instructions and orders. For getting work done the subordinates are guided motivated, communicated, supervised, load and if need be commanded. These are of course the means but the ultimate aim of direction is to see that the work is accomplished according to policies and programmes.

According to Ernest Dale, “Direction is telling people what to do and seeing that they do it to the best of their ability. It includes making assignments, explaining procedures seeing that mistakes re corrected providing on the job instruction and of course issuing orders”. According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “directing is a complex function that includes all those activities which are designed to encourage subordinates to work effectively and efficiently in both the short and long run”.

Thus directing is a complex and practice based function. It can be perfected only through long experience.


Directing is the heart of management process. Planning, organising and staffing are merely preparations for doing the work and work actually starts when the directing is done. It is the directing function which initiates organised action. It ensures that subordinates do their work as expected.

Faculty direction can nullify efficient planning, sound organising and effective staffing. It can make the achievement of objectives difficult. Directing helps in achieving co-ordination among various operations of an enterprise.

Directing helps to create team-work the members of the organisation. It makes planning, organising and staffing meaningful. Directing provide the connecting link between these functions and controlling. It is a vital phase in the ongoing process of management.

(a) It initiates actions (b) it help in getting maximum out of individuals (c) it integrates individual efforts, (d) it facilitates change in the organisation, and (e) it ensures stability and balance in the organisation.


Direction is the important managerial function that initiates organizer’s action. It is a connecting and activating link between various functions of management. It is a process around which all performance revolves. It is essentially concerned with mobilizing and synthesizing human resources and efforts to accomplish the goals of the organization.

A manager’s most important job is to direct the efforts of employees. Direction phase of management is the heart of management in action. It provides necessary guidance and inspiration to people at work in order to carry out their assigned duties. Direction is the essence of operations. It is a continuous function.

A manager never ceases to direct, guide, teach, watch, and supervise his subordinate employees. Directing refers to defining and implementing an internal organizational environment highly conducive to utilizing human resources for the attainment of organizational objectives.

Directing in Management – Meaning

Directing is the process that involves giving instructions, guidance, motivation, help and assistance to subordinates in order to help them achieve organisational goals. In other words, it involves monitoring and correction of employee performance to focus their coordinated efforts for attaining organisational objectives. It is a management function that is performed by the directors of the organisation as well as the supervisors down the line.


The importance of directing must never be underestimated. In the absence of directing, or in the absence of effective directing of the organisational efforts, the objectives or goals can never be achieved. Directing encompasses all those activities that will make the joint organisational efforts yield desired results through coordinated harnessing departmental efforts. Thus, it will impact all the departments of a business unit. Inspiration, motivation, guidance and leadership are important inputs in directing any organisational force. Direction lies at the center of every business organisation.

It is in fact the life spark of any workforce; whether it works for profit or charity. In fact, it is through direction that employees can identify their real capabilities and give optimum output.


Direction is the managerial function of guiding, overseeing and leading people to the attainment of certain objectives. Different individuals are brought together under an organisation. It is the management, which has to guide, lead and co-ordinate the activities of the individuals in achieving these objectives. In the words of Ernest Dale, direction is the job of, “Telling people what to do and see that they do it in the possible manner.”

Directing does not simply means issuing orders and instructions. It also includes guiding and inspiring people. It is a comprehensive function.

Directing is a managerial function which is primarily concerned with influencing guiding, supervising and inspiring subordinates in a planned manner. It is performed by all managers of different levels of an organisation. It includes assignment of jobs, issuing of instructions and orders, supervising the subordinates and rectifying the errors in time. The success of management is largely a matter of effective direction.

In order to make managerial decisions more meaningful the manager convert his orders and instructions into action through the process of directing. It ensures that all employees working in the organisation are putting their efforts towards the accomplishment of organisational goals.

Rensis Likerthas rightly observed, “All activities of any enterprise are initiated and determined by the persons who makeup that institution plants, offices, computers, automated equipment and all else that make a modern firm are unproductive except for human effort and direction of all the tasks of management. Managing the human component is the central and most important task because all else depends on how well it is done”.

The need of direction arises to deal effectively and efficiently with the human factor for the accomplishment of goals of the organisation.

Directing in Management – Definitions (Suggested by Eminent Thinkers)

J.L. 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.”

Urwick and Brech – “Directing is the guidance, the inspiration, the leadership of those men and women that constitute the real core of the responsibilities of management.”

Koontz and O’Donnell – “Direction is a complex function that includes all those activities which are designed to encourage subordinates to work effectively and efficiently in both the short and long run.”

“Directing is telling people what to do and seeing that they do it to the best of their ability. It includes making assignments, explaining procedures, seeing that mistakes are corrected, providing on the job instructions, and of course issuing orders”. — Ernest Dale

“Directing consists of the process and techniques utilized in issuing instructions and making certain that operations are carried out as planned”. — Theo Haimann

“Direction is the interpersonal aspect of managing by which subordinates are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives”. — Harold Koontz and Cyril O’ Donnell

According to Theo Halmann, directing consists of, “the processes and technique utilised in issuing instructions and making certain that operations are carried on as originally planned,”

Keonta and O’Donnell define directing an, “the interpersonal aspect of managing by which subordinates are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives”.

Ernest Dale says that directing is, “telling people what to do and seeing that they do It to the best of their ability.”

“Directing is a managerial function that involves the responsibility of managers for communicating to others what their roles are in achieving the company plan”. — John A. Pearce II and Richard B. Robinson, Jr

Directing is an important link with the other management functions. All other functions of management such as – planning, organising, and staffing have no importance without directing. Directing is the function of guiding, inspiring, overseeing and instructing people towards the accomplishment of the organisational goals. It is a continuous managerial process that goes on throughout the life of the organisation.

Some popular definitions of directing are given below:

“Directing is the interpersonal aspect of managing by which subordinate are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives.” — Koontz & O’Donnell.

“Directing involves determining the course, giving orders and instructions and providing dynamic leadership.” – Marshall.

“Directing means moving to action and supplying simulative power to a group of persons.” – G.R. Terry.

“Directing is telling people what to do and seeing it that they do it to the best of their ability. It includes making assignments, explaining procedures, seeing that mistakes are corrected, providing on the job instructions and of course issuing order.” – Ernst Dale.

Directing in Management – Concept

Direction is an important function of management which is related to inspiring, instructing and guiding human factors in the organization to achieve organizational activities and objectives. It is the process of telling people what to do and seeing that they do it in the best possible manner.

Essential elements of Direction are-

(i) Giving orders and instructions

(ii) Supervising the work of subordinates

(iii) Giving guidance to the subordinates in their work

(iv) Maintaining discipline and rewarding efficient employees

(v) Motivating the subordinates

Henry Fayol gave certain concepts to facilitate direction-

(i) To have thorough knowledge of personnel

(ii) To eliminate the incompetent

(iii) To set a good example

(iv) To be well versed in the agreements binding the business

(v) To bring together the chief assistants by means of conference

(vi) To conduct periodic audit of the organisation

(vii) To aim at infusing unity, energy, initiative and loyalty among the personnel

Directing in Management – Nature

The nature of direction function would be clear from the following points:

1. Direction is Concerned with Human Factor:

Direction is the inter-personal aspect of management. By performing this function, the manager is able to influence the behaviour of subordinates and get things done through them. To quote Joseph L. Massie, “Directing concerns the total manner in which a manager influences the subordinates. It is the final action of a manager in getting others to act after all preparations have been completed.”

2. Direction is a Pervasive Function:

Direction is a pervasive function of management. It needs to be performed at every level of management. Some people think that only the managers at the lower level perform the direction function. This is not correct. Direction function must be performed by all managers at different levels of the enterprise. However, the time spent on direction in comparatively more at the lower levels of management.

3. Direction is a Continuous Function:

Directing is a continuous activity. A manager cannot just rest after issuing orders and instructions. He must guide, supervise and motivate his subordinates. He should continuously take steps to ensure that the orders and instructions are carried take steps to ensure that the orders and instructions are carried out properly and the performance is according to standards.

4. Direction is a Link between Planning and Control:

Direction helps in putting plans into practice and paves the way for controlling of operations. Direction is also interrelated with organising and staffing.

5. Direction is Oriented towards Performance:

Direction is oriented towards performance. All performance revolves around this function. It is the essence of managing. Coordination is a necessary by-product of good directing. As a creative function, direction converts plans into performance. It ensures smooth action and translates plans into effective actions for the accomplishment of objectives

Additional Points that Highlight the Nature:

The following points highlight the nature of direction:

1. Process of Action:

Direction is an important managerial function that initiates action at top level of the organisation and flows down the hierarchy. It follows that subordinates have to be directed by their superiors only.

2. On-Going Process:

Directing is not an intermittent function of management. It is a process of continuously guiding the behaviour of others.

3. Not Supported by Rules:

Since the behaviour of people cannot be predicted through mathematical or statistical tools, the function of directing is based on behavioural sciences. It is not supported by rules or regulations.

4. Directing is Situational:

Managers influence the behaviour of employees according to situation. The directions change from situation to situation. Factors like environment, nature of workers, group behaviour, attitude towards work etc. affect directing.

5. Behavioural Science:

Since directing deals with human behaviour, managers study different aspects of human psychology to understand how to influence their behaviour.

6. Understanding Group Behaviour:

No person can work alone. While working in the organisation, he becomes part of the informal group (formed on the basis of common interests of individuals). The behaviour of a person is different as an individual and as member of the group. It is, therefore, essential that managers understand the importance and nature of group behaviour in order to direct effectively.

7. Participative in Nature:

Directions initiate action on the part of employees. To ensure greater participation of workers in carrying out the organisational activities, they should take part in the meetings to discuss various direction policies.

8. Pervasive:

Managers at all levels in all functional areas direct their subordinates. Top managers guide middle and lower level managers who further direct supervisors and workers.

It is performed at every level of management. Every person in the organisational hierarchy is superior to some and subordinate to others except those at the top and the bottom. Direction maintains and strengthens superior-subordinate relationships and inspires everyone in the organisation to have a common vision, that is, contribution to organisational goals.

Directing in Management – 5 Main Features

The following features of direction are:

1. Dynamic Function – Directing is a dynamic function because the methods and techniques of directing people vary with changes in plan and organisational relationships. Directing fulfills the purpose of planning, organising and staffing.

2. Universal Function – Directing is a pervasive function as it is formed by managers at all levels and in all locations. Every manager has to supervise guide, motivate and communicate with his subordinates to get things done. Directing function must be performed in conjunction with other functions of management.

3. Performance Oriented Function – Performance is the essence of directing. According to Haimann, directing is the process around which all performance revolves. As a creative function, direction converts plan into performance. Being a performance oriented function, directing ensures the continuity of operations for effective achievement of goals.

4. Involves Human Factor – The directing function of management is concerned with relationships between people. It involves the study and moulding of human nature and group behaviour. Its aim is to create an appropriate work environment which would release the latest talents and manifest abilities.

According to Koontz and O’Donnell directing is “the inter-personal aspect of managing by which subordinates are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives.”

5. Involves Human Factor – The directing function of management is concerned with relationships between people. It involves the study and moulding of human nature and group behaviour. Its aim is to create an appropriate work environment which would release the latest talents and manifest abilities.

According to Koontz and O’Donnell directing is “the inter-personal aspect of managing by which subordinates are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives.”

Directing in Management – Importance

The importance of directing are as follows:

1. Initiates Actions:

Directing initiates actions for actualizing plans by instructing and motivating all employees of an organisation. In the absence of direction there will be lack of co-ordination between other important management functions such as planning, organising and staffing which will spell disaster for the organisation in terms of managerial and operational efficiency.

2. Integrating Efforts of the Employees:

Directing integrates the efforts of all the employees in the organisation by providing guidance and supervision to them. Without integrating the efforts of all, group goals will remain unaccomplished which will indirectly prove to be detrimental to organisational progress.

3. Provides Motivation and Increases Efficiency:

Motivation is an important ele­ment of directing, as function of the superiors is not just limited to passing orders to the subordinates. They are also responsible for motivating them to put in their best efforts. Motivated employees contribute significantly to organisational prog­ress due to greater efficiency.

4. Organisational Stability:

Effective direction is a balancing factor between indi­vidual and group goals on one hand and between the group goals and organisa­tional goals on the other hand. Thus, it imparts stability in the organisation.

5. Responsive to Environmental Changes:

Organisations have to be responsive to frequent changes in the business environmental variables. Direction helps an organisation to operate smoothly in spite of these changes by suggesting changes in the organisational functions and structure.

6. Coordinating the Efforts of the Employees:

By allotting the part of the task to be accomplished by every employee and instructing them accordingly, directing coordinates the efforts of the employees and thereby promotes discipline among them.

Directing in Management – Process

The following is the process of directing which usually is adhered to in order to get better results:

1. Defining the Objectives – The first process is direction is the setting and defining of the objectives. The manager after spelling out the objectives interprets them and communicates them for performance.

2. Organising the Efforts – Secondly the manager organises the efforts. He analyses the activities decision and relations so that he is able to define and interpret them and then he helps himself finding providing proper guidance, better supervision and effective direction in the light of his own definitions and interpretations.

3. Measuring the Work – The third function in directing is to measure the work, establishes yardstick and communicates them on the basis of the analysis of their work performance.

4. Developing the People – In the directing process, the last but the most important function of the manager is to develop the people particularly those who are working with them. He directs his then to strengthen their integrity, to provide insight of the job and to train for accomplishing the assigned work.

Direction is also there to being self confidence in the man at work. His success means he has directed well. Good direction helps in developing a prosperous establishment and preparing a well-knit deserving team which may be entrusted with the job an expectation that the work will he accomplished with efficiency and satisfaction.

Directing in Management – Functions

Directing is to point or aim; to point out proper course to; to guide; to order; to plan and to supervise, counsel, command.

The main emphasis of direction-cum-supervision is on the human element. Managing has to be achieved through the human element of the enterprise. The directing function is expected to maximise the use of human skill and human will-to-work with minimum resort to compulsion and exter­nal discipline.

The directing function is in charge of mobilising and synthesizing human efforts- labour, initiative and resource­fulness and then giving them a direction, a goal to achieve and avenue to reach the goal. The subordinates of a manager are his raw materials. Out of these human resources he must raise the architecture, a work of art and achievement in the form of a growing and prosperous enterprise.

Manager’s function of directing, particularly under liberal managerial style is equivalent to leading motivating. He has to arouse, ignite or light up the lamp that burns (dormant perhaps) in every employee.

The directing function is in charge of directing and mana­ging human resources and accomplish the goals of the orga­nisation by integrating individual |group goals with those of the enterprise.

A manager’s most important function is to direct the efforts of others. In a large enterprise, a manager may avoid some of the planning and organising, but he cannot evade his responsibility to direct intelligently the subordinates un­der his supervision and leadership. In fact, his effectiveness as a manager is totally dependent upon the results he accom­plishes through directing and leading the twins of manage­ment skills.

In a broader sense, directing is providing all guidance and inspiration to people at work in order to carry out their as­signed duties and responsibilities. Directing phase of mana­gement is the heart of management-in-action. Directing means telling people what to do and seeing that they do it to the best of their ability.

Directing assures the performance of the allotted work by individual employees. It includes as­signment of jobs, explaining procedures, offering instructions on the job, issuing orders and directives and seeing that errors are rectified in time. Planning and organising are only pre­parations for work performance.

They set the stage ready for organised human efforts. In order to get things done through others, manager is called upon to direct, motivate and lead his subordinates to do the assigned jobs with inter­est and strive to achieve the set objectives.

Directing in Management – 8 Important Principles

The important principles of directing are as follows:

Principle # 1. Maximum Individual Contribution:

This principle emphasizes that directing techniques must help individual in the organisation to contribute to his maximum potential for achievement of organisational objectives. It should bring out untapped energies of employees for the efficiency of organisation. For example, a good motivation plans with suitable monetary and non-monetary rewards can motivate employee to contribute his maximum efforts for the organisation as he or she may feel that their efforts will bring them suitable rewards.

Principle # 2. Harmony of Objectives:

Very often, we find that individual objectives of employees and the organisational objectives are conflicting to each other. For example, an employee may expect attractive salary and monetary benefits to fulfil his personal needs. Whereas organisation may expect employees to improve productivity and expected profits.

Principle # 3. Unity of Command:

This principle insists that a person in the organisation should receive instructions from one superior only. If instructions are received from more than one, it creates confusion, conflict and disorder in the organisation.

Principle # 4. Appropriateness of Direction Techniques:

According to this principle appropriate motivational and leadership techniques should be used while directing the people based on subordinate needs, capabilities, attitudes and other situational variables. For example, for some people money can act as powerful motivator while for others promotion may act as effective motivator.

Principle # 5. Managerial Communication:

Effective managerial communication across all the levels in the organisation make directions effective. Directing should convey clear instruction to create total understanding to subordinates. Through proper feedback, the managers should ensure that subordinate understand his instructions clearly.

Principle # 6. Use of Informal Organisation:

A manager should realise that informal groups or organisations exist within every formal organisation. He should spot and make use of such organisation for effective directing.

Principle # 7. Leadership:

While directing the subordinates, managers should exercise good leadership as it can influence the subordinates positively without causing dissatisfaction among them.

Principle # 8. Follow through:

More giving of an order is not sufficient. Managers should follow it by reviewing continuously whether orders are being implemented or not.

Directing in Management – 4 Important Elements

Directing is not a single but a group of functions.

The following elements fall in its scope:

1. Supervision

2. Motivation

3. Leadership

4. Communication

Element # 1. Supervision:

The word ‘Supervision’ can be broken down into two words where ‘super’ means over and above and ‘vision’ means seeing. Hence, supervision is an act of seeing the activities of the employees from over and above. Supervision is important to ensure that acceptable standards of workmanship are maintained and employee practices are in line with established policies. In other words, supervision can be defined as instructing, guiding, monitoring and observing the employees while they are busy carrying out their assigned duties.

Supervisors need to make sure that work is done according to the plans laid down by the higher management. As part of supervisory function, the managers must clarify instruc­tions in case of any ambiguity, resolve problems and ensure cooperation and smooth working in their team.

The supervisor has to:

a. Oversee their subordinates at work,

b. Look out for deviations,

c. Ensure remedial means to remove obstacles, and

d. Wherever required initiate training and development to see to it that the workforce attains necessary wherewithal to satisfactory job performance.

The importance of supervision must never be underestimated. Supervisors are the important link between the actual workforce and the management. They are the medium through which the management communicates with the workforce and the workforce interacts with the management. They communicate the policies, the plans and dreams of the organisation to the employees. They motivate and energize the workforce to focus its energy towards joint goals. Any miscommunication can adversely affect the organisation as a whole.

The supervisors have to raise the morale and job satisfaction level of the workers, help the workers to avoid stress while remaining focused on the goals. They have to share responsibilities with the supervisees and lead them. This highlights how important it is for a supervisor to possess leadership skills. They have to share the organisational vision with the workers and make them willing partners in the organisational progress.

Element # 2. Motivation:

Motivation is the art and the science of influencing people so that they accomplish the objectives and goals of the organisation. Motive is the force that makes human beings work towards a particular objective. It acts as a stimulant for people to work hard. This force urges human beings to work in order so that certain intrinsic wants and desires are fulfilled. The intensity of the desire plays a very important role in motivating the person towards its fulfillment.

Motivation has been defined in a number of ways. According to Dubin, “Motivation is the complex force starting and keeping a person at work in an organisation”.

Dalton E. McFarland defines motivation as, “the way in which urges, drives, desires, aspirations, stirrings or needs direct, control or explain the behaviour of human beings

According to another noted writer, William Scott, “Motivation is a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals.”

The accomplishment of organisational goals is not possible until and unless we harness the efforts of employees to its common goal by giving them a single unified target and making them strive towards attaining that target. This becomes all the more important when we consider that a demotivated worker can demoralise the entire team and may adversely impact the performance of the entire unit.

The management has to bring about an environment of motivation in the organisation. Effectively motivating employees has been one of the most important and challenging duties of the management. Because motivation is highly individualised, managers have to use a number of techniques to keep their employees motivated and happy.

Element # 3. Leadership:

Leadership means influencing people and their behaviour and leading them to the achievement of certain goals and objectives. The qualities in a leader should be such that he influences and guides his followers towards the accomplishment of common goals.

Leadership is a very important aspect of manage­ment. The manager has to perform all duties as a leader and is expected to fulfill different roles that he or she may be called upon to fulfill. The leader will have to play many roles, which may be informational, decisional or even interpersonal. The basic role that the leader is required to play is to lead the organisation (or department) rally and the subordinates to a single unified line of action that resonates with predetermined objectives or goals of the entire organisation.

According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.”

Louis A. Allen defines leader as, “the one who guides and directs other people and gives their efforts, direction and purpose.”

Management includes leadership. The manager has to function as a leader by motivating the employees to see to it that they are well-directed towards fulfillment of corporate objectives. One of the requirements of effective leadership is good communi­cation. The manager has to ensure that the business goals and objectives are communi­cated effectively and timely to those who are expected to contribute to those goals.

Therein lays the need for good communication skills. The leader has to ensure that his message is understood with the least distortion, is received well and is acted upon. The leader has to make sure that if there is any dissonance, he is around to take effective measures and clear any misgivings that could later on have any adverse effect on the employee performance.

Guidance, empathy and encouragement are also a part and parcel of the traits of a good manager if he has to come out as an effective leader. At times conditions could be adverse to the interests of the organisation. Targets may not be met many a times. There could be other problems which may have a temporary unfavourable effect on the unit’s performance. During such hard times the manager has to come forward to raise the morale of his subordinates. Encouragement and motivation go a long way in uplifting their sagging morale. A good leader has to be patient when there is no wind in the sails.

A good leader, and by extension, a good manager must be ready to solve employee problems, formal or informal. He must have the wherewithal to empathize and must be seen by employees to be a trusted person. He must be able to fire-up their enthusiasm and spur them to higher achievement.

The capability of a leader or a good manager depends much on how he can influence the actions of his fellow workers. This influence has to be exerted in the right direction. When the manager acquires the cap of a leader his outlook becomes quite different; he looks at things from a long-term perspective. He scans the horizon and beyond. He has to organise the people and define them for well- thought-out jobs.

Element # 4. Communication:

Communication can be defined as, “the act of conveying information from one person to another, or from one person to a group. It should be done in such a way that the message suffers the least distortion on the way, and is conveyed in a manner that it is understood by the receiver exactly the way it was intended to be by the sender.” Thus, communication links the different functions of management. It is the primary means by which people obtain and exchange information.

According to Mockler, “Communication is the process of passing information, ideas or even emotions from one person to another.”

According to Newman and Summer, “Communication is an exchange of fact, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons”.

Keith Davis defines communication as, “Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another.”

The importance of communication lies in the fact that it links all other functions of management. Management is a joint organisational effort in which all members need to know what and where they are to focus their energy.

In today’s dynamic world, communication is a vital part of our daily life. We all depend on communication, social or businesswise. The information technology and communication facilities available to us today enables us to continually exchange infor­mation, ideas, thoughts, opinions and data (business and academic) on a continuous basis. This exchange can be electronic (through the internet, TV or radio) or printed (newspapers, magazines).

Communication can be of different types, such as:

1. Oral (By word of mouth)

2. Written (Printed, handwritten)

3. Visual (Posters, charts, models, etc.)

4. Action (Body language)

Directing in Management – Techniques

Directing is one of the most important but complex task of a manager because it is related to human element. One of the major tasks of directing is establishing coordination. That is to say, to coordinate the members of the enterprise for the purpose of accomplishing the objectives of the enterprise. Different techniques of directing are available to a manager. Broadly, the techniques of directing are put into three categories.

They are as follows:

1. Consultative Direction:

The consultative technique of direction is also termed as participative or democratic technique. According to Theo Haimann, the consultative or participative technique of giving directives is the one whereby the superior draws ideas and suggestions from his subordinate by consulting with him before he issues the directive. In this way, when this technique of direction is followed, the subordinates responsible for executing the orders are consulted about their workability and better ways of achieving the desired results.

Consultative technique of direction is beneficial in several ways. First, it leads to better cooperation. Secondly, it creates greater enthusiasm for work. Thirdly, it improves the plans by making them more workable and feasible. Fourthly, it encourages personal development of subordinates. Fifthly, it greatly simplifies the task of issuing and interpreting orders. Sixthly, it promotes harmonious personal relationship between the superior and the subordinates. As a result, it minimises bossing.

Consultative direction has shortcomings too. It may help in developing insubordination. It may result in fuzzy directions. It is time consuming and expensive. If the subordinates lack due interest in the matters of instructions, it becomes unwarranted. However, with due care, the weaknesses of consultative direction may either be removed or minimised. William H. Newman has rightly remarked, “Consultative direction, like many good things, should be used with a sense of moderation and appropriateness.”

2. Free Rein Direction:

Free rein direction is also known as laissez-faire direction. It is much more comprehensive or broad-based than consultative direction. In other words, it is non-interfering technique of direction. When this technique is used, the subordinates are allowed to choose the methods and procedures they like out of the available ones. According to Haimann, ‘the free rein technique goes further in as much as it permits the subordinate free rein to use his own initiative and ingenuity in solving the problem, while the superior manager acts more or less as a sounding board.’

Under this, specific instructions or directives to subordinates are not issued. The superior manager normally assigns the tasks in general terms. He hopes that the subordinate, by using his independent thought, drive and ingenuity, will solve the specific problems, if any, come in the way of accomplishing the assigned tasks. Further, it is believed that both the superior and the subordinate are adjusted to the use of freedom of activity.

This technique of direction is useful. It gives the subordinate an opportunity to use his own initiative, ingenuity and perspicacy in solving problems. It builds confidence in the subordinate. It, thus, helps in developing future managers. It also gives an opportunity to the subordinate to learn by doing. Contrary to these advantages, it has serious drawbacks.

If the decisions of the subordinates are not effective, the enterprise may suffer a lot. Similarly, if the subordinates are not well-aware about the policies, objectives, etc. of the enterprise, the enterprise may have to face serious consequences. In fact, the success of this technique of direction depends largely on the overall ability of the subordinates.

3. Autocratic Direction:

Autocratic direction is also termed as authoritarian or dictatorial technique of direction. It believes in centralisation of authority. It is an antithesis of free rein direction. According to Theo Haimann, “When the manager employs autocratic technique he gives direct, clear and precise orders to his subordinates, with detailed instructions as to how and what is to be done, allowing no room for the initiative of the subordinate.”

Thus, autocratic direction works on the basis of command, detailed instructions and close supervision. The manager who believes in this technique assumes that “he can do the job better than any of his subordinates… He is the kind of manager who feels that his subordinates are not paid to think, that they are expected to follow instructions, that he alone is to do the planning and decision making, and that this is what he is trained and paid for” (Theo Haimann).

The autocratic technique has several merits. First, it helps in taking quick decision and, thus, it avoids delay in decision-making. Secondly, uniformity in direction is maintained. Thirdly, the subordinates become more action-oriented. Fourthly, the subordinates are freed from decision-making. Fifthly, it brings orderliness and firmness.

Sixthly, when this technique is adopted, the manager can use inexperienced and less educated subordinates for achieving better results. Nonetheless, this technique has several demerits too. First, the subordinates may lose interest and initiative. Second, it is against the democratic life. Thirdly, at times, when the manager makes mistakes, the subordinates rejoice secretly. Fourthly, it does not help in producing future managers.

The choice of the technique of direction is influenced by several factors, such as, the personality of manager, the philosophy of management practised by the manager, the environment of direction, the educational background of the subordinates, the overall personality of the subordinates, etc. For the purpose of effective and harmonious direction a mix or a combination of the three could be a proper choice. Or a proper balance is required.

Other Techniques of Directing:

1. Delegation of Authority:

With the increase in size and complexity of operations of an organisation, it becomes difficult if one person is assigned the responsibil­ity of completion of all tasks and problems. Here, delegation of authority has a significant role to play.

Delegation of authority is the process of passing a part of the authority from an individual in a higher managerial level to another in the subsequent managerial level to equip him/her to effectively discharge the part of the task allotted to him.

2. Communication:

Effective communication has a great role in providing super­vision and direction. Communication ensures that instructions and guidance are passed from the superior to the subordinates using the appropriate communication channels, so that the content communicated is well comprehended. This increases productivity and managerial competence.

3. Orders and Instructions:

Passing orders and instructions is an important tech­nique of directing. Orders and instructions are passed from individuals in the higher hierarchical level to those in the lower hierarchical level. Through orders and instructions superiors keep orienting the activities of the subordinates in the desired direction.

Directing in Management – Roles

Direction needs motivation, leadership as well as supervi­sion. Motivation and leadership need communication and co­ordination. In a sense all these managerial functions can be grouped under one heading namely, implementation or mana­gement in action.

Many practising managers feel that there are three principal functions of manager:

i. Planning and organising,

ii. Implementing the plans and

iii. Control.

Im­plementation is considered the real essence of management. It includes directing, coordinating, motivating or actuating, leading. Of course, implementation is impossible without effective network of communication or two-way flow of infor­mation between the leader and the led. Implementation deals with current operating problems and activities involved in carrying out plans through the direction, leadership and motivation of people, the greatest dynamic resource of any enterprise.

The real challenge before management is how to direct, lead and motivate people so that their potentialities can be utilised in the best manner for the twin goals of pro­ductivity and satisfaction.

Success of management is largely a matter of effective direction and leadership for the following:

i. Getting com­petent people;

ii. Telling them what is to be accomplished;

iii. Explaining them how to do what you want done;

iv. Giving them authority; and

v. Guiding, instructing and inspiring them with confidence in their ability to achieve the company goals.

Directing deals exclusively with people. It must be cen­tred around the people. Hence, it is also called leading or actuating. Directing is performed at all levels of manage­ment, but it is particularly important where most of the work is concerned with routine operating duties. Direction can get the work done through others either on the strength of for­mal authority or on the strength of leadership influence.

The seed of authority is planted from above. But it is nourished from below. It increases as we issue orders that make sense. It decreases when those orders are nonsense. Please note that authority is the ability to make up a man’s mind for him. Influence is the ability to help him to make up his mind in your way. Authority is compulsive. Influence is impulsive. Each is an alternative way of directing or getting work done through others.

Directing in Management – Essentials of an Order to Serve as an Effective Tool of Direction

In order to serve as an effective tool of direction, an order or instruction should satisfy the following essentials:

1. The order should be clear and complete so that it is easily understood by the subordinates.

2. The order should be reasonable and attainable i.e. within the authority of subordinates.

3. The order must be compatible with the objectives of the organisation and with the interests of the subordinates.

4. The order should be appropriately worded, so that it does not appear offensive. The tone of the order should stimulate ready acceptance.

5. The order should specify the time within which it would be carried out and completed.

6. All orders should follow the chain of command.

7. Face-to-face suggestions are preferable to long-distance orders.

8. Attitudes and habit patterns necessary for the carrying out of an order should he created in advance.

9. An order should be depersonalised and made an integral part of a given situation.

10. The order should be constantly followed up and should incorporate the suggestions made by subordinates when it is reissued.

11. All important and non-routine orders should be issued in writing. Very often orders are issued to subordinates orally because of superior’s faith in his subordinates. However it is desirable to confirm the orally issued orders in writing.

Directing in Management – Top 3 Activities of Directing

Directing is a managerial function. It is composed of vital elements. These elements are also called the activities performed under directing. These are steps that are followed in the process of directing.

Thus, the activities of directing are as under:

1. Issuing orders;

2. Guiding, Counselling and Coaching; and

3. Supervising

1. Issuing Orders:

An order is a managerial device used for starting an activity, stopping it, and modifying it. It is used by a manager for directing his subordinates. In this way, directing involves issuance of orders. The other terms which are used in place of orders are command and instructions. The superior, in a formal organisational set-up, has the right to give orders to his subordinates. And the subordinates execute such orders. Thus, good results are based on the nature and the manner of orders.

As an order is a command of a manager, it needs to be enforced by the subordinates.

To be an effective order, an order should possess the following features or characteristics:

i. An order should be reasonable.

ii. An order should be absolutely clear in meaning.

iii. An order should be brief but complete.

iv. An order should be prompt and economical.

v. An order should be capable of accomplishment.

vi. An order should be compatible with objectives.

vii. An order should be intelligible.

viii. An order may be oral or in writing.

ix. The tone of the order should be appropriate and considerate.

x. An order should be in professional form.

xi. An order should be issued by a manager within his own legitimate right or authority.

xii. An order should succeed follow-up action.

xiii. An order should fit into the demand of the situation.

2. Guiding, Counselling and Coaching:

If issuing orders is the first step of the process of directing, guiding, counselling and coaching the subordinates may be termed as the second important step of the process of directing. In any enterprise, subordinates are selected scientifically and systematically, they are trained properly, even then the orders issued by the superior or manager may not be clearly understood by those who have to act accordingly.

The subordinates may not be able to understand how they should do the job. Thus, when the subordinates do not know how to do the jobs, they will not be as effective as they should be. It is, therefore, essential that the subordinates should be guided, counselled and coached. The subordinates should be taught how they could achieve the objectives.

3. Supervising:

Supervising is the final step involved in the process of directing. Supervising is overseeing or watching the performance of those who are responsible for execution. In the field of management, it is used in a wider sense. According to William H. Newman, “Supervision refers to the day-to-day relationship between an executive and his immediate assistant; and it is commonly used to cover the training, direction, motivation, maintenance of discipline, and minor adjustment of plans to meet immediate situation that take place in the executive-subordinate relationship.”

In this way, supervising ensures achievement of organisational goals. With the help of it goals, policies and programmes are converted into desired action. It also assists in creating an appropriate work environment. The function of supervision is performed at all levels of management. However, the time and efforts needed for this purpose vary from one managerial level to another.

The top management supervises or directs and guides the middle level management. The managers at middle level guide the supervisory level management. The supervisory management or first line management (i.e., supervisors or foremen) guides and directs the workers who perform the actual work. Thus, supervising is regarded as the key to managerial assignment.


Directing in Management – Top 5 Benefits

Direction has been called the essence of management. It is an important function of every manager.

This is because of the following benefits:

1. Action is Initiated – All the activities of any enterprise are initiated when the direction function is performed. Planning and organising are preparatory functions. It is the direction that initiates actions. It has been rightly called the life spark of the enterprise as it sets it into motion.

2. Organisational Goals are Achieved – Direction is the function of guiding the subordinates to work towards the accomplishment of organisational objectives. The people working in the enterprise have to be told what, how and when they should do. This will direct their energies towards the goals of the organisation.

3. Efficiency is Ensured – The direction function involves training and guiding of the subordinates and also their supervision. This enhances their efficiency.

4. Better Human Relations are Achieved – Directing deals with the human factor, so it is a very delicate function. In order to achieve the cooperation of workers, it is essential to understand their nature and needs. Financial and non-financial incentives may be provided to the workers to satisfy their needs. In addition, understanding with the workers may be achieved by providing for two-way communication.

5. Changes are Facilitated – Direction facilitates the introduction of changes in the organisation. Employees generally have a tendency to resist change. If they are informed about the change properly and their misapprehensions are cleared, it will be easier to implement change.

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