As one of the key management functions, leading focuses on a managers efforts to

All managers at all levels of every organization perform these functions, but the amount of time a manager spends on each one depends on both the level of management and the specific organization.

Roles performed by managers

A manager wears many hats. Not only is a manager a team leader, but he or she is also a planner, organizer, cheerleader, coach, problem solver, and decision maker — all rolled into one. And these are just a few of a manager's roles.

In addition, managers' schedules are usually jam‐packed. Whether they're busy with employee meetings, unexpected problems, or strategy sessions, managers often find little spare time on their calendars. (And that doesn't even include responding to e‐mail!)

In his classic book, The Nature of Managerial Work, Henry Mintzberg describes a set of ten roles that a manager fills. These roles fall into three categories:

  • Interpersonal: This role involves human interaction.
  • Informational: This role involves the sharing and analyzing of information.
  • Decisional: This role involves decision making.

Table 1 contains a more in‐depth look at each category of roles that help managers carry out all five functions described in the preceding “Functions of Managers” section.

Not everyone can be a manager. Certain skills, or abilities to translate knowledge into action that results in desired performance, are required to help other employees become more productive. These skills fall under the following categories:

  • Technical: This skill requires the ability to use a special proficiency or expertise to perform particular tasks. Accountants, engineers, market researchers, and computer scientists, as examples, possess technical skills. Managers acquire these skills initially through formal education and then further develop them through training and job experience. Technical skills are most important at lower levels of management.
  • Human: This skill demonstrates the ability to work well in cooperation with others. Human skills emerge in the workplace as a spirit of trust, enthusiasm, and genuine involvement in interpersonal relationships. A manager with good human skills has a high degree of self‐awareness and a capacity to understand or empathize with the feelings of others. Some managers are naturally born with great human skills, while others improve their skills through classes or experience. No matter how human skills are acquired, they're critical for all managers because of the highly interpersonal nature of managerial work.
  • Conceptual: This skill calls for the ability to think analytically. Analytical skills enable managers to break down problems into smaller parts, to see the relations among the parts, and to recognize the implications of any one problem for others. As managers assume ever‐higher responsibilities in organizations, they must deal with more ambiguous problems that have long‐term consequences. Again, managers may acquire these skills initially through formal education and then further develop them by training and job experience. The higher the management level, the more important conceptual skills become.

Although all three categories contain skills essential for managers, their relative importance tends to vary by level of managerial responsibility.

Business and management educators are increasingly interested in helping people acquire technical, human, and conceptual skills, and develop specific competencies, or specialized skills, that contribute to high performance in a management job. Following are some of the skills and personal characteristics that the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is urging business schools to help their students develop.

We have defined management as a process to achieve organizational goals. A process is a set of activities that are ongoing and interrelated. Ongoing means that the activities are not done in a linear, step-by-step fashion where responsibility is passed from one activity to the next. Instead, the activities are continued as new activities are started. Interrelated means that the results of each activity influence the other activities and tasks. It is the responsibility of management to see that essential activities are done efficiently (in the best possible way) and effectively (doing the right thing).

The management process consists of four primary functions that managers must perform: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. It is important to realize that the management process is not always linear. It does not always start with planning and continue through each step until organizational goals are achieved because it is not possible to plan for every problem the organization will face. As the management process proceeds, changes and modifications are made when unforeseen events arise. Managers make sure the necessary changes are implemented and that the unity and integrity of the entire process is maintained.

The key functions in the management process are connected, but not always linear.


Planning means defining performance goals for the organization and determining what actions and resources are needed to achieve the goals. Through planning, management defines what the future of the organization should be and how to get there. Strategic plans are long-term and affect the entire organization. A strategic plan bridges the gap between what an organization is and what it will become. Tactical plans translate strategic plans into specific actions that need to be implemented by departments throughout the organization. The tactical plan defines what has to be done, who will do it, and the resources needed to do it.

For instance, recall the example used at the beginning of this module. It described how ThyssenKrupp AG decided to become an elevator manufacturing and servicing company because of increased competition from Chinese steel. The management of the company set a goal of deriving the majority of its revenue from elevator-related activities. To do this, the management team made plans to create partnerships or take over existing elevator companies. The team devised plans to develop new human resources and to acquire other material resources. The company also had to divest existing steel-related resources to raise capital for the new initiative. This example is a long-term strategic plan that will take years to complete and require many changes along the way. But it starts by defining a goal and a preliminary path to achieve it.


Once plans are made, decisions must be made about how to best implement the plans. The organizing function involves deciding how the organization will be structured (by departments, matrix teams, job responsibilities, etc.). Organizing involves assigning authority and responsibility to various departments, allocating resources across the organization, and defining how the activities of groups and individuals will be coordinated.

In the case of ThyssenKrupp AG, the management had to determine how to support two very different sets of activities if it were to achieve its long-term goal. Management needed to continue steel production activities to provide continuity of funds as the emphasis gradually shifted to elevator production. It also had to develop new skills and resources to build the company’s elevator capabilities. A new organizational structure was needed that could support both business activities as one was downsized and the other built up.


Nearly everything that is accomplished in an organization is done by people. The best planning and organizing will not be effective if the people in the organization are not willing to support the plan. Leaders use knowledge, character, and charisma to generate enthusiasm and inspire effort to achieve goals. Managers must also lead by communicating goals throughout the organization, by building commitment to a common vision, by creating shared values and culture, and by encouraging high performance. Managers can use the power of reward and punishment to make people support plans and goals. Leaders inspire people to support plans, creating belief and commitment. Leadership and management skills are not the same, but they can and do appear in the most effective people.

It is very difficult to motivate people when plans involve radical change, particularly if they include downsizing and layoffs. Many people are naturally resistant to change. When the change means loss of jobs or status, people will be very resistant. At ThyssenKrupp, the labor unions vehemently opposed the shift from steel production to elevator manufacturing. Although the people involved in the new business functions were excited by the plans, people involved with steel production felt abandoned and demotivated. Management would have been wise to get union support for its vision of the company’s new future.


There is a well-known military saying that says no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. This implies that planning is necessary for making preparations, but when it’s time to implement the plan, everything will not go as planned. Unexpected things will happen. Observing and responding to what actually happens is called controlling. Controlling is the process of monitoring activities, measuring performance, comparing results to objectives, and making modifications and corrections when needed. This is often described as a feedback loop, as shown in the illustration of a product design feedback loop.

Product design feedback loop

Controlling may be the most important of the four management functions. It provides the information that keeps the corporate goal on track. By controlling their organizations, managers keep informed of what is happening; what is working and what isn’t; and what needs to be continued, improved, or changed. ThyssenKrupp had little experience in elevator manufacturing when it was making plans. It was developing new products and processes and entering new markets. The management knew it could not anticipate all the difficulties it would encounter. Close monitoring as the plan progressed allowed the company to make changes and state-of-the-art innovations that have resulted in a very successful transition.

Watch the following video for an overview of the management process and a simple example of how the management functions work together.

Who Directs Each Function?

Although these functions have been introduced in a particular order, it should be apparent that the different activities happen at the same time in any one organization. The control function ensures that new plans must be created. Leaders often step up as needed when a crisis or unexpected bump demands immediate action. All managers perform all of these functions at different times, although a manager’s position or level in the organization will affect how much of his or her time is spent planning as opposed to leading or to controlling. We will look more closely at different types of managers in the next section.

What are the key function of managers?

Originally identified by Henri Fayol as five elements, there are now four commonly accepted functions of management that encompass these necessary skills: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

What are the key of management of an organization?

Planning, organizing, leading and controlling are four key management functions that must be considered in any management position.

What are the 4 key management functions quizlet?

There are four functions of management: planning, leading, organizing, and controlling.

Which is the key role of a manager quizlet?

Managers are responsible for arranging and structuring work that employees do to accomplish the​ organization's goals. This function is known as controlling.