The most oft quoted four functions of management are: Planning, organizing, delegating (sometimes stated also as leading/ directing) and controlling. A manager must use his intellect, acquired knowledge and experience to do the planning and organizing functions; he must be smart and trusting enough to delegate the right type of task to the right types of subordinates and authoritative and powerful enough to control those who work under him and those dealing with him.
Best strategies for Planning
Planning is more of a mental exercise; for effective planning, the manager must seclude himself from disturbances. To get clarity of thought and to put ideas into a neat order, the manager needs a good chunk of quality time during which he will have the least distraction. It means the manager is not disturbed by incoming phone calls, the need to giving instructions to subordinates or running up to the boss’ cabin at his beg and call.
So, the manager has to advice his secretary to filter the incoming calls, switch off his mobile for a while and choose a time in his office when he is likely to be disturbed the least. One good strategy is to come to the office much earlier than the normal working hours, so that with a fresh mind free from disturbances, the manager can put on his thinking cap.
The manager must have a scribbling pad handy and he should break down all the smaller elements involved in the whole planning exercise and jot them down in whatever order they evolve from his mind. He should then rewrite them on the order of priority and correct sequence.
Best Strategy for organizing
For organizing any work, the best starting point is the past records of any similar activity. Take the case of a manager organizing a new product launch for the benefit of company’s distributors and dealers. The manager can dig out the file from his cabinet that contains the details of a past program done on similar lines: say, an annual sales conference of the distributors / dealers arranged last year. Many of the papers and records there will come in very handy – say, the list of distributors and their addresses, e-mails, details of the last meeting’s venue, the size of the hired hall, lunch expenses incurred and so on.
Best strategy for delegating
The tasks to be carried out by the manager’s team may fit into the following:
a) Those that only some of the subordinates are experts in doing
b) Those that some subordinates have potential to do in consultation with the experts
c) Those that the manager himself is supposed to do, but could be delegated so that the manager can either do better things or enjoy leisure(!)
d) Those that were supposed to be done by a superior manager, but somehow dumped down on to this manager !
e) Those that the manager as well as subordinates are not competent enough to do.
One of the best strategies in effective delegation is always to dump most of the work downwards as much as possible! Only such of those tasks that come back to him either on account of incapability of subordinates or on account of resistance from them are to be taken up by the manager!
Best strategy for controlling
The best strategies for controlling are to specify a deadline a shade shorter than what is humanly practical; giving a target a shade more than what is practically achievable and narrowing the budget a shade less than what is reasonably profitable. All these techniques add an element of tension and pressure on the workforce and inject an element of challenge for achieving them. As long as the tension, pressure and challenge are moderate and appear to be achievable and as long as the manager is willing to make re-adjustments based on dire practical limitations from time to time, these strategies will bring rich dividends in producing better-than-expected results.
As long as a manager remains knowledgeable on his work and the tasks he is supposed to complete, has the human touch to interact with his personnel in a respectable manner and is willing to take the total responsibility without blaming others, a manager can successfully implement these best practices in management and reach good dividends.