While managing an enterprise, managers have to get things done through people. In order to be able to do so, they have to undertake many activities, like guide the people who work under them, inspire and lead them to achieve common objectives.
For example, an office manager has to supervise the activities of his subordinates, i.e., typists, office assistants, dispatchers, accounts clerks, etc. He has to issue instructions to them and describe and illustrate the work and related activities. He has to tell them what to do, and how to do it. The office manager can plan, organise and appoint people, but he can not get things done, unless he assigns specific duties to his subordinates and motivates them to perform well.
All these activities of a manager constitute the directing function. Thus, directing is concerned with instructing, guiding, supervising and inspiring people in the organisation to achieve its objectives. It is the process of telling people what to do and seeing that they do it in the best possible manner. The directing function involves:
Managers plan and take decisions. They organise to define the work and create suitable positions in the enterprise. People are employed to perform the jobs, but the actual work of getting the job done comes under the directing function. Thus, directing is ‘management in action’. It is through the exercise of this function that managers get things done through people.
Plans remain mere plans unless they are put into action. In the absence of direction, subordinates will have no idea as to what to do. They will probably not be inspired to complete the job satisfactorily. Implementation of plans is, thus, largely the concern of directing function. As a function of management, directing is useful in many ways.
It guides and helps the subordinates to complete the given task properly and as per schedule.
It provides the necessary motivation to subordinates to complete the work satisfactorily and strive to do them best.
It helps in maintaining discipline and rewarding those who do well.
Directing involves supervision, which is essential to make sure that work is performed according to the orders and instructions.
Different people perform different activities in the organisation. All the activities are interrelated. In order to co-ordinate the activities carried out in different parts and to ensure that they are performed well, directing is important. It helps to integrate the various activities and so also the individual goals with organisational goals.
Directing involves leadership that essentially helps in creating appropriate work environment and build up team spirit.
Communication, Supervision, Motivation and Leadership are the four essential elements of directing.