7.12 Directing

Meaning, Features and Importance of Directing

  1. What is the definition of directing?
    Directing refers to the process of instructing, guiding, counselling, motivation and leading staff in the organization to achieve its objectives.
  2. What are the features of directing?
    1. Directing initiates action.
    2. Directing takes place at all levels of management.
    3. Directing is a continuous process.
    4. Flows from top to bottom.
  3. What is the importance of directing?
    1. Initiates action,
    2. Leads to integrated group activity
    3. Attempts to get maximum out of each individual
    4. Helps to implement changes
    5. Provides stability and balance in the organization


The functions and qualities of a good supervisor are the following:

  1. Interpersonal relation with workers.
  2. Link between workers and management.
  3. Promotes group unity.
  4. Helps in improving performance.
  5. Provides training to employees.
  6. Influences workers.
  7. Provides feedback.

Questions & Answers

  1. What is supervision? What is the position of a supervisor? (2 marks)
    Supervision is the function to be performed by supervisors, a managerial position in the organisation hierarchy at the operative level i.e., immediately above the worker.
  2. How is directing equal to supervision? (2 marks)
  3. How is the functions and performance of the supervisor vital to any organisation?
    The functions and performance of the supervisor is vital to any organisation because he is directly related with workers whereas other mangers have no direct touch with bottom level workers.
  4. What are the responsibilities of a supervisor?
    1. Supervisor maintains day-to-day contact and maintains friendly relations with workers. A good supervisor acts as a guide, friend and philosopher to the workers.
    2. Supervisor acts as a link between workers and management. He conveys management ideas to the workers on one hand and workers problems to the management on the other. This role played by supervisor helps to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts between management and workers/employees.
    3. Supervisor plays a key role in maintaining group unity among workers placed under his control. He sorts out internal differences and maintains harmony among workers.
    4. Supervisor ensures performance of work according to the targets set. He takes responsibility for task achievement and motivates his workers effectively.
    5. Supervisor provides good job training to the workers and employees. A skilled and knowledgeable supervisor can build efficient team of workers.
    6. Supervisory leadership plays a key role in influencing the workers in the organisation. A supervisor with good leadership qualities can build up high morale among workers.
    7. A good supervisor analyses the work performed and gives feedback to the workers. He suggests ways and means of developing work skills.


  • Once Manager Peter challenged Pappu if he could manage EIC for a day and Pappu agreed.
  • Jack handed over all his power and authority to Pappu for a day and Pappu began to work.
  • The first thing that Pappu noticed was that most of the workers (although they were very efficient) were lazy or didn’t do any work voluntarily so he found out a solution – motivate them! But then how to motivate?
  • Soon Pappu’s brain began to work and he reached a working method – give them what they want! He made a note of each worker under him and his/her needs.

Motivation – Importance

  • Imagine that Pappu is a motivated employee. How will Manager Peter benefit from this?
  • Pappu will work with dedication and the performance level will be high.
  • Pappu’s negative and indifferent attitudes will change to positive attitude. Now Pappu will work as if the organization is his own.
  • Manager Jack will not have to spend too much money on new recruits because Pappu will not leave the company. Besides, Pappu’s efficiency and experience will shoot up.
  • Pappu will not be absent now. He is now motivated. He will wake every morning to do something new for the company. Thus, absenteeism will be checked in the absence of bad working conditions, inadequate rewards, lack of recognition, poor relations with supervisors and colleagues etc. Pappu will love his work!
  • If Manager Jack introduces a new change, Pappu will welcome the change because he now loves his company. Jack will not face any objection from anyone.

Motivation – Process | An example

  1. Pappu is very hungry since he did not have breakfast in the morning.
  2. By 1.00 P.M., he became restless and started walking on the road in search of a hotel for snacks or meals.
  3. After walking for 2 kms, he could find a hotel where food was available for Rs. 60.
  4. Since he had only Rs. 100 in his pocket, he paid Rs. 60 and had a satisfying meal.
  5. After taking a meal, he felt that he had regained energy.

An unsatisfied need of an individual creates tension which stimulates his or her drives. These drives generate a search behaviour to satisfy such need. If such need is satisfied, the individual is relieved of tension.

  1. Unsatisfied Need > Tension >> Drives >>> Search Behavior >>>> Satisfied need >>>>> Reduction of Tension

Questions & Answers

  1. What is motive
    A motive is an inner state that energises, activates or moves and directs behaviour towards goals. Motives arise out of the needs of individuals. Realisation of a motive causes restlessness in the individual which prompts some action to reduce such restlessness. For example, the need for food causes hunger an account of which a man searches for food. Some such motives are – hunger, thirst, security, affiliation, need for comfort, recognition etc.,
  2. What is motivation?
    Motivation is the process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals. Motivation depends upon satisfying needs of people.
  3. What are motivators?
    Motivator is the technique used to motivate people in an organisation. Managers use diverse motivators like pay, bonus, promotion, recognition, praise, responsibility etc., in the organisation to influence people to contribute their best. Some of the definitions to explain the concept of motivation are given in the above box.

Features of Motivation

  1. Motivation is an internal feeling.
    1. The urge, drives, desires, aspirations, striving or needs of human being, which are internal, influence human behaviour.
    2. For example, people may have the urge for possessing a motorbike, comfortable house, reputation in the society.
    3. These urges are internal to an individual.
  2. Produces goal directed behaviour.
    1. In the second year, Rafeeq was promoted a little. After this promotion, Rafeeq was on a highly motivated scale because he wanted to be promoted much higher.
    2. For example, the promotion in the job may be given to employee with the objective of improving his performance. If the employee is interested in promotion, it helps to produce a behaviour to improve performance.
  3. Can be either positive or negative.
    1. In the third year, Rafeeq was punished for being too irregular. Rafeeq thought of leaving the company but Manager Jack told him that he would get another promotion and an increment in salary if he keeps regularity.
    2. Positive motivation provides positive rewards like increase in pay, promotion, recognition etc., Negative motivation uses negative means like punishment, stopping increments, threatening etc. which also may induce a person to act in the desired way.
  4. A complex process
    1. As the individuals are heterogeneous in their expectations, perceptions and reactions, any type of motivation may not have uniform effect on all the members.
  5. Motivation helps to improve performance levels of employees as well as the organisation.
    1. Since proper motivation satisfies the needs of employees, they in turn devote all their energies for optimum performance in their work.
    2. A satisfied employee can always turnout expected performance.
    3. Good motivation in the organisation helps to achieve higher levels of performance as motivated employees contribute their maximum efforts for organisational goals.
  6. Motivation helps to change negative or indifferent attitudes of employee to positive attitudes so as to achieve organisational goals.
    1. For example, a worker may have indifferent or negative attitude towards his work, if he is not rewarded properly.
    2. If suitable rewards are given and supervisor gives positive encouragement and praise for the good work done, the worker may slowly develop positive attitude towards the work.
  7. Motivation helps to reduce employee turnover and thereby saves the cost of new recruitment and training.
    1. The main reason for high rate of employee turnover is lack of motivation.
    2. If managers identify motivational needs of employees and provide suitable incentives, employees may not think of leaving the organisation.
    3. High rate of turnover compels management to go for new recruitment and training which involve additional investment of money, time and effort.
    4. Motivation helps to save such costs. It also helps to retain talented people in the organisation.
  8. Motivation helps to reduce absenteeism in the organisation.
    1. Some important reasons for absenteeism are–bad working conditions, inadequate rewards, lack of recognition, poor relations with supervisors and colleagues etc.
    2. Through sound motivational system, all these deficiencies can be covered.
    3. If motivation is adequately provided, work becomes a source of pleasure and workers attend to the work regularly.
  9. Motivation helps managers to introduce changes smoothly without much resistance from people.
    1. Normally, for any change introduced in the organisation, there may be resistance for changes.
    2. If manager can convince employees that proposed changes will bring additional rewards to employees, they may readily accept the change.

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory

If Papu has all that he needs, Jack cannot make him work for his company. What if Papu were very very poor? Let’s see what happens in Papu with motivation.

  • When Papu gets a job and gets paid, his primary needs such as hunger, thirst, shelter and sleep will be fulfilled. This is the lowest level. (The cycle level)
  • Now Papu has a fear – will he lose his job and salary? Jack can assure him that he will not lose his job. This is the second level in the hierarchy. (The scooter level)
  • Once Papu is able to live happily in a rented house with a wife with a monthly salary and a scooter, he needs to be known in the society and need friends. (The Maruti 800 level)
  • Papu needs more and more respect, autonomy status, recognition and attention so he needs more and more money. He needs to become an assistant manager for this. He is ready to work longer and harder. (The Honda City Level)
  • Finally, Papu has one last need left – Self Actualization Needs. It is the highest level of need in the hierarchy. It refers to the drive to become what one is capable of becoming. These needs include growth, self-fulfillment and achievement of goals. (The BMW Level)

Textual Notes

Abraham Maslow, a well-known Psychologist in a classic paper published in 1943, outlined the elements of an overall theory of motivation.

  1. Basic Physiological Needs These needs are most basic in the hierarchy and corresponds to primary needs. Hunger, thirst, shelter, sleep and sex are some examples of these needs. In the organisational context, basic salary helps to satisfy these needs.
  2. Safety/Security Needs These needs provide security and protection from physical and emotional harm. Examples: job security, stability of income, Pension plans etc.,
  3. Affiliation/Belonging Needs These needs refer to affection, sense of belongingness, acceptance and friendship.
  4. Esteem Needs These include factors such as self-respect, autonomy status, recognition and attention.
  5. Self Actualization Needs It is the highest level of need in the hierarchy. It refers to the drive to become what one is capable of becoming. These needs include growth, self-fulfillment and achievement of goals.

Motivation – Need Hierarchy Theory Bases

  1. People’s behaviour is based on their needs. Satisfaction of such needs influences their behaviour.
  2. People’s needs are in hierarchical order, starting from basic needs to other higher level needs.
  3. A satisfied need can no longer motivate a person; only next higher level need can motivate him.
  4. A person moves to the next higher level of the hierarchy only when the lower need is satisfied.

How to Motivate

Financial Incentives

It is very easy to understand that money can buy almost anything so Jack can buy Papu too, with money. The following are the financial incentives that Jack pays Pappu.

  • Salary – 1000; other allowances – 200; increment – 100, etc
  • Productivity linked wages –
  • Bonus – Jack paid an additional amount of 2000 in the month of October.
  • Profit sharing – Jack paid an additional amount of 1000 as Pappu share in the business.
  • Co-partnership – Jack asked Pappu if he wished to buy shares of the company for an amount of 10000 and Pappu bought it. Pappu bought it because he could buy it for a lower price.
  • Retirement benefits – Pappu will retire from Jack and Hack at the age of 60 or earlier. He will be getting a lot of benefits on and after his retirement.
  • Perquisites – Pappu’s wife Lakshmi is getting a medical insurance and his two daughters get education allowances through Jack and Hack. Pappu is very happy.

Textual Notes

  1. Pay and allowances
    For every employee, salary is the basic monetary incentive. It includes basic pay, dearness allowance and other allowances. Salary system consists of regular increments in the pay every year and enhancement of allowances from time-to-time. In some business organisations, pay hike and increments may be linked to performance.
  2. Productivity linked wage incentives Several wage incentive plans aims at linking payment of wages to increase in productivity at individual or group level.
  3. Bonus Bonus is an incentive offered over and above the wages/salary to the employees.
  4. Profit Sharing Profit sharing is meant to provide a share to employees in the profits of the organisation. This serves to motivate the employees to improve their performance and contribute to increase in profits.
  5. Co-partnership/Stock option Under these incentive schemes, employees are offered company shares at a set price which is lower than market price. Sometimes, management may allot shares in line of various incentives payable in cash. The allotment of shares creates a feeling of ownership to the employees and makes them to contribute for the growth of the organisation. In Infosys the scheme of stock option has been implemented as a part of managerial compensation.
  6. Retirement Benefits Several retirement benefits such as provident fund, pension, and gratuity provide financial security to employees after their retirement. This acts as an incentive when they are in service in the organisation.
  7. Perquisites In many companies perquisites and fringe benefits are offered such as car allowance, housing, medical aid, and education to the children etc., over and above the salary. These measures help to provide motivation to the employees/ managers.

Non-Financial Incentives:

Rafeeq is already happy working for Eat India Company but is that all? Are there any other motivating factors left? Yes, there are – some incentives are non-financial.

  1. Status – Rafeeq is getting a better social Status now. They call him, Rafeeq Sir! Rafeeq should feel that the company is respecting him. Rafeeq is the boss in his department.
  2. Organizational climate – Make every employee feel that Eat India Company is unique and number one!
  3. Career Advancement Opportunities – Rafeeq is getting promotions to the higher levels of the company. Last month Rafeeq was appointed as the assistant to the junior manager!
  4. Job Enrichment – Last week, Jack told Rafeeq that he (Rafeeq ) was able handle more complex works. You know, Rafeeq was very happy to accept the work! This is called Job Enrichment.
  5. Employee Recognition Program – Yesterday, while passing the notice board, Rafeeq got a pleasant shock – his name and photo on the notice board! Best Employee of the Firm! (Jack knows how to please his workers) This is known as Employee Recognition Programs.
  6. Job Security – Today Rafeeq went to Jack and asked if his job was secure. Rafeeq was really tensed because someone had told him that the company, Jack and Hack was going to shut down. Jack smiled and said that the company was going to expand to three other states! Rafeeq was happy. This is known as Job Security.
  7. Employee Participation – An hour ago Jack called Rafeeq into his cabin and asked what was his opinion about appointing three fresh MBAs in his department as trainees? Rafeeq was really thrilled because Jack had never sought his opinions before! This is known as Employee Participation.
  8. Employee Empowerment

Textual Notes

  1. Status: In the organisational context, status means ranking of positions in the organisation. The authority, responsibility, rewards, recognition, perquisites and prestige of job indicate the status given to a person holding a managerial position. Psychological, social and esteem needs of an individual are satisfied by status given to their job.
  2. Organisational Climate: Organisational climate indicates the characteristics which describe an organisation and distinguish one organisation from the other. These characteristics influence the behaviour of individuals in the organisation. Some of these characteristics are–individual autonomy, reward orientation, consideration to employees, risk-tasking etc., If managers take positive measures regarding these aspects, it helps to develop better organisational climate.
  3. Career Advancement Opportunity: Every individual wants to grow to the higher level in the organisation. Managers should provide opportunity to employees to improve their skills and be promoted to the higher level jobs. Appropriate skill development programmes, and sound promotion policy will help employees to achieve promotions. Promotion works as a tonic and encourages employees to exhibit improved performance.
  4. Job Enrichment: Job enrichment is concerned with designing jobs that include greater variety of work content, require higher level of knowledge and skill; give workers more autonomy and responsibility; and provide the opportunity for personal growth and a meaningful work experience. If jobs are enriched and made interesting, the job itself becomes a source of motivation to the individual.
  5. Employee Recognition programmes: Most people have a need for evaluation of their work and due recognition. They feel that what they do should be recognised by others concerned. Recognition means acknowledgment with a show of appreciation. When such appreciation is given to the work performed by employees, they feel motivated to perform/work at higher level. Some examples of employee recognition are: n Congratulating the employee for good performance. n Displaying on the notice board or in the company news letter about the achievement of employee. n Installing award or certificate for best performance. n Distributing mementos, complimentaries like T-shirts in recognition of employee services. n Rewarding an employee for giving valuable suggestions.
  6. Job security: Employees want their job to be secure. They want certain stability about future income and work so that they do not feel worried on these aspects and work with greater zeal. In India, this aspect is more important considering the inadequate job opportunities and too many aspirants for these. However, there is one negative aspect of job security. When people feel that they are not likely to lose their jobs, they may become complacent.
  7. Employee participation: It means involving employees in decision making of the issues related to them. In many companies, these programmes are in practice in the form of joint management committees, work committees, canteen committees etc.



Formal and Informal Communication

  1. Classification of formal communication.
    1. Vertical Communication
      1. Downward Communication
      2. Upward communication
    2. Horizontal / Lateral Communication
  2. Formal communication networks
    1. Single chain network
    2. Wheel network
    3. Circular network
    4. Free-flow network
    5. Inverted V network
  3. Grape-wine Networks
    1. Single strand network
    2. Gossip network
    3. Probability network
    4. Cluster network
  4. Barriers to effective communications
    1. Semantic (linguistic) barrier
    2. Badly expressed message
    3. Symbols with different meanings
    4. Faulty translation
    5. Unclarified assumptions
    6. Technical jargons
    7. Body language and gesture decoding
  5. Psychological (emotional) barriers
    1. Lack of attentions
    2. Distrust
    3. Premature evaluation
    4. Loss of transmission
    5. Poor retention
  6. Organizational barriers
    1. Organizational policies
    2. Rules and regulations
    3. Complexity in Organizational Structure
    4. Organizational facilities
    5. Status
  7. Personal Barriers
    1. Fear of challenge to authority
    2. Lack of confidence of superior on subordinates
    3. Unwillingness to communicate
    4. Lack of proper incentives
  8. Measures to improve communication effectiveness
    1. Clarify the ideas before communication
    2. Communicate according to the needs of the receiver
    3. Be aware of the language, tone and content of the message
    4. Be a good listener
    5. Ensure proper feedback
    6. Communicate for present as well as for future
    7. Consult others before communicating
    8. Convey things of help and value to listeners
    9. Follow up communication

Characteristics of Directing

If Manager Jack doesn’t initiate/start action, employees like Pappu will do nothing. Jack has to initiate action by planning, organising, staffing and controlling. It is not the responsibility of Manager Jack to do direction – Manager Sam, Mona, Hassan and Peter also have to do directing at their own levels because directing happens at all levels. (Pappu needn’t because he is not a manager!) If you make Pappu the manager, he will stop directing once a work is over because he doesn’t know that directing is a continuous process. Remember that directing flows from top to bottom level so that every manager can direct his immediate subordinate and take instructions from his immediate boss.

Questions & Answers

  1. What are the characteristics of directing? (6 marks)
    1. Directing initiates action
      Directing is a key managerial function. A manager has to perform this function along with planning, organising, staffing and controlling while discharging his duties in the organisation. While other functions prepare a setting for action, directing initiates action in the organisation.
    2. Directing takes place at every level of management
      Every manager, from top executive to supervisor performs the function of directing. The directing takes place wherever superior – subordinate relations exist.
    3. Directing is a continuous process.
      Directing is a continuous activity. It takes place throughout the life of the organisation irrespective of people occupying managerial positions. We can observe that in organisations like Infosys, Tata, BHEL, HLL and the managers may change but the directing process continues because without direction the organisational activities can not continue further.
    4. Directing flows from top to bottom
      Directing is first initiated at top level and flows to the bottom through organisational hierarchy. It means that every manager can direct his immediate subordinate and take instructions from his immediate boss.

Importance of Directing

Manager Jack needs to help Pappu to initiate/start any action because Pappu is such an employee who doesn’t do anything on his own. There are some creative staff members in the company (unlike Pappu) who contribute so much to the company that their efforts and contributions should be integrated/combined. Sometimes Pappu can be found sitting idle so Manager Jack has to motivate/encourage him. Pappu is very much old-minded so he never thinks of doing something new so Manager Jack has to introduce certain changes. Finally, Manager Jack has to maintain stability/balance in the company because people like Pappu are looking for opportunities to create differences among the employees.

Write a note on the importance of directing.

  1. Directing helps to initiate action by people in the organisation towards attainment of desired objectives.
    For example, if a supervisor guides his subordinates and clarifies their doubts in performing a task, it will help the worker to achieve work targets given to him.
  2. Directing integrates employees’ efforts in the organisation in such a way that every individual effort contributes to the organisational performance. Thus, it ensures that the individuals work for organisational goals.
    For example, a manager with good leadership abilities will be in a position to convince the employees working under him that individual efforts and team effort will lead to achievement of organisational goals.
  3. Directing guides employees to fully realize their potential and capabilities by motivating and providing effective leadership. A good leader can always identify the potential of his employees and motivate them to extract work up to their full potential.
  4. Directing facilitates introduction of needed changes in the organisation. Generally, people have a tendency to resist changes in the organisation. Effective directing through motivation, communication and leadership helps to reduce such resistance and develop required cooperation in introducing changes in the organisation. For example, if a manager wants to introduce new system of accounting, there may be initial resistance from accounting staff. But, if manager explains the purpose, provides training and motivates with additional rewards, the employees may accept change and cooperate with manager.
  5. Effective directing helps to bring stability and balance in the organisation since it fosters cooperation and commitment among the people and helps to achieve balance among various groups, activities and the departments.

Principles of Directing

Manager Jack has to see that his direction methods should aim at encouraging Pappu to contribute to the company. Jack has to maintain a harmony between Jack and Hack and Pappu so that Pappu gets a salary rise or promotion. Make sure that Pappu has got only one manager – not many. If there is no unity of command, Pappu will be dissatisfied and confused.

Power Booster

What are the principles of Direction?

  1. Maximum individual contribution | If Pappu is good at dyeing clothes, get the maximum dyeing out of him – not knitting!
  2. Harmony of objectives | Give what Pappu wants and take what Pappu can give!
  3. Unity of Command | Let Pappu follow one immediate manager – say, Jack.
  4. Appropriateness of motivation technique | Give what everyone in the company needs.
  5. Managerial communication | Pappu may not understand English so Jack should talk to him in Hindi or Chinese! And, Jack, no poetry, speak in simple language!
  6. Use of informal organisation | Jack should be a little informal too. Pappu is an informal guy so he will feel less like a machine.
  7. Leadership | Jack, you know, Pappu values your leadership qualities.
  8. Follow through | Jack, do you check if Pappu is doing the work you have assigned to him? Please get a feedback.

Written by Biju John

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

Detective Short Stories – Biju John

3.12 Management and Business Environment