When we began the semester the initial discussion focused upon
the history of management and how the environment plays a
critical role in affecting business decisions and performance.
Next, we investigated two of the basic managerial functions –
planning and organizing. Managers develop plans that build upon
the organization’s strengths, minimize its weaknesses,
capitalize on opportunities in the environment, and avoid
external threats. Managers then shift their attention toward the
task of organizing the financial, physical, technological, and
human resources necessary for implementing the strategic,
tactical, and operational plans.
In this next topic we look at the third
managerial function – leading. Planning and organizing are
critical aspects of managing organizations. However, as with any
recipe that contains multiple ingredients, leadership is an
additional ingredient that is essential for implementing the
plans and coordinating the actions of the organization
departments and members. Consider a sailing ship that is leaving
a port on a journey to the Antarctic. As the ship leaves the
port it is clear that goals are set; strategies for achieving
the goals are in place; physical resources have been purchased
and stored on board; crew members have been organized into
groups; and responsibilities and authority have been assigned.
Responsibility for success now shifts to the ship’s captain and
his or her ability lead the crew during the days ahead. The
issues for this imaginary captain to consider are the same as
those that any organization manager should consider, and they
include: understanding the basic foundations of individual and
group behavior (Module 4.1); developing and managing teams
(Module 4.2); motivating individuals to accomplish the goals and
plans (Module 4.3); understanding how to lead, rather than
coerce compliance from the crew )Module 4.1); and facilitating
communication with in and between groups or teams.