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The Skills, Roles & Functions of Management
Management Skills, Roles & Functions (Essay)
This page investigates the skills, roles and functions of Management.
For any organisation to achieve the goals it has established and be successful it needs managers to correctly implement and understand the functions, skills and roles involved in the managerial process.
How these are applied will vary depending on what level of management a particular manager is involved in (high, middle, low) and the organisation.
Regardless of these two factors all management decisions focus on the efficient and effective use of resources for the benefit of the organisation, in the direction of its desired goals and/or objectives.
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The Functions of Management
The four functions of management are planning, organising, leading and controlling (Davidson et al, 2009. p.13).
Planning involves reviewing the current situation and generating a plan that will allow the organisation to meet its established goals and objectives (Selley, 2009). This could entail generating a plan to increase profit and detail how this will be achieved (focus on capturing a larger market share or perhaps moving into a new market). Correct planning ensures there is a degree of focus, while also providing a structured timeline that relevant stakeholders can adhere too.
The second stage is organising, this is where management prepares for the task ahead by delegating resources and responsibilities, as efficiently and effectively as possible (Pakhare, 2011). During this stage management would consider the different departments and divisions within its organisation and provide authority and tasks as necessary.
An organisation that wants to increase its profit might use the organising stage to outline the roles of marketing (investigate and promote new market share) and separate these from the accounting department (assess the viability by calculating projected sales and expenses) while also ensuring they all have the necessary resources to complete the work. Davidson et al. defines leading as the process of getting members to work together for a common interest (2009. p.14).
Leading requires a manager to have a positive influence on people while also inspiring them to complete their jobs (making this vital in low-middle management), this in turn improves their job performance through a positive work environment (Expert Manage, 2011).
It is important to establish this positive environment to ensure that deadlines set in the initial planning stage can be met and resources are not being wasted.
The final stage in the function of management is controlling, this stage is important in the establishment of performance standards and ensuring these standards are adhered too while also taking corrective actions against deviation. If for example deadlines are not being met the manager should investigate, if they this was due to incorrect original estimates relating to the workload required, the manager could increase staffing for the particular project.
The Role of Management in Business
Technical skills are those necessary to accomplish or understand the specific work being done.
While a solid grasp of management functions is important management should also have a sound skill base, a report by Hay's Group suggests this is a weak area for most individuals in management and is one of the biggest threats to business success (Financial Advisor, 2007).
These skills include but are not limited to technical, interpersonal and conceptual skills. "Technical skills are those necessary to accomplish or understand the specific work being done in an organisation," (Davidson et al, 2009. p.19).
These technical skills are used mostly at the lower levels of management and are obtained through experience and training. An example of technical skills could be introducing and teaching a new accountant the accounting system used by the firm. Interpersonal skills focus on the ability to work with, motivate and communicate with other people (Hahn, 2007).
This skill is very important for managers to create a strong relationship between both individuals and groups within the organisation (Dale, 2008, p.121) this will ensure that there is trust and respect between these parties, allowing tasks to be completed effectively and efficiently.
The final core skill of management is conceptual thinking, this is the ability to consider a situation both abstractly and logically in order to come to the correct decision based on internal and external environments (Griffin, 2011. p.179). Globalisation has made this skill extremely important for managers (especially those in high-level positions), as they must be able to break-down and analyse information to make immense decisions that potentially have a worldwide impact.
The Skills, Roles & Functions of Management
Through numerous managerial roles the skills discussed above are put into practice.
Mitzberg's observations and research suggest that a manger's role can be split into ten roles and three categories; interpersonal (management through people), informational (management through information) and decisional (management through action) (Daft and Marcic, 2010. p.17). Interpersonal roles naturally form an important part of being a manager and relate to activities involving other people.
Some interpersonal tasks could involve being a figurehead and speaking at important organisation ceremonies, motivating employees through leadership or serving as a liaison between different departments (Davidson et al, 2009. p.18).
Informational roles are focused on the processing of information, this could include seeking out information while also analysing and monitoring for relevant changes that apply to the organisation, communicating information to your co-workers or being a spokesperson on behalf of the organisation (MindTools, 2011). Informational roles require quick and thorough processing of information and resilience to information overload.
The final category is decisional which requires decisions to be made using the information provided. This could require developing innovate ideas, serving as a mediator to resolve conflict, allocating resources within the organisation and negotiating on the organisations behalf. A manager involved in a decisional role must have strong problem solving abilities, be able to prioritise and have good negotiation skills.
To ensure an organisation’s success (meets its objectives and goals) it needs effective and efficient managerial staff. This requires managers to understand how their functions, skills and roles synergise together while also adapting to changes overtime.
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Daft, R. Marcic, D. Woods, 2010, Understanding Management, 7th edition, Cengage Learning.
Davidson, P. Simon, A. Woods, P & Griffin, R.W. 2009, Management: Core concepts and applications, 2nd edition, Wiley, Brisbane.
Expert Manage 2010, Four Functions of Management, viewed 23 August 2011, http://www.expertmanage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=122&Itemid=166
Financial Adviser 2007, 'Middle managers are lacking skills,' 22 February, p.1
Griffin, R.W. 2011, Fundamentals of Management, Cengage Learning.
Hahn, M. 2005, Management Skills, viewed 24 August 2011, http://en.articlesgratuits.com/management-skills-id1586.php
Mind Tools 2009, Mintzberg's Management Roles, viewed 23 August 2011, http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/management-roles.htm
Pakhare, J 2010, Management Concepts - The Four Functions of Management, Buzzle, viewed 22 August 2011, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/management-concepts-the-four-functions-of-management.html
Selly, N 2009, How the four functions of management leads to business success, Helium, viewed 22 August 2011, http://www.helium.com/items/1586308-why-fayols-functions-of-management-can-avoid-failure-in-business-and-lead-to-business-success