Let's start with the basics. We've all heard the terms lots of times, but what exactly is management and who are managers? Management is organizing and coordinating organizational activities to achieve defined objectives. Managers are the people responsible for making that happen. One clear distinction to be made is that managers plan, organize, direct, control, and guide the work of others, while employees perform the actual work. Managers are considered effective if they achieve their goals, and efficient if they do it with the minimal amount of resources. Management is incredibly important to the success of an organization. Just think about how many times you've heard of a company failing because of poor management. It happens all the time. Regardless of where they work or the size of their company, all managers follow a specific management process and perform the same functions in doing their jobs. This process consists of five crucial functions that are carried out in a defined sequence to achieve goals and objectives. Planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. Now, let's unpack each of these a little bit. The management process starts with planning. The purpose of planning is to set goals and objectives and devise ways to achieve them. Goals must be set first. A good example from real life is planning a trip. First, you decide where you want to go, the goal, and then you decide how you're going to get there, the plan. Planning produces policies, standard operating procedures, regulations and rules. For supervisors, the outcomes of planning include operating schedules, quality specifications, budgets, timetables, and deadlines. Without planning, supervisors and organizations have no direction, no idea what to do, no standards to meet, no targets, and no pathway for achieving anything. The old saying, failing to plan is planning to fail, is absolutely true. Without good plans, nothing gets done and the organization goes nowhere. Now, we'll talk a lot more about planning later, so for now, let's move on to organizing. Organizing is how supervisors set themselves up for success. Through organizing, managers analyze and arrange the pattern of work relationships so as to meet organizational goals. During the organizing process, managers coordinate employees, resources, policies, and procedures that facilitate the goals identified in the plan. The end goal is to establish the organizational structure of the department, and divide work into jobs. We'll talk about this a lot more later, so let's move on to staffing. The goal of staffing is to obtain the best available people for the organization and to develop the skills and abilities of those people. It's all about putting the right people in the right jobs. With the right training supervisors first, figure out how many and what kinds of employees the department will need to carry out its work. Then they interview, select, and train people who appear to be the most suitable to fill the open jobs. If this is done right, the organization will have the best possible chance for success. Now, if you have employees, someone has to lead them, so let's talk about that. Leading moves an organization forward. Leading is the process of influencing and supporting others to follow you and to do the things that need to be done willingly. Supervisors lead by providing employees with motivation, communication, and direction. Leading drives the success of an organization more than any other function. Without good leadership, objectives and goals will not be achieved. Now, fifth and final function, controlling. Once plans are set in motion, supervisors keep an eye on how well they are working through controlling. Controlling is the process by which supervisors measure results and compare them to standards, analyze deviations from standards, and take action to put results back on track. Basically, they figured out whether anything is going wrong and if so, they fix it. Controlling is closely linked to planning, because control actions are guided by the goals established through planning. Now, I said at the beginning that supervisors perform these five functions in the order we just covered. But that is actually not always the case. Depending on the supervisors situation, they may need to take a step back, depending on how things are going. For example, they may discover through the controlling process that the original objectives are not realistic, and go back to revise plans. They also sometimes perform several functions at once, since each situation is unique and needs its own solution. For instance, their responsibilities for leading and controlling don't go away while there training new employees, and vice versa.