The Four Functions of Management: What Managers Need to Know (2024)

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

While most positions and departments within a business are tasked with specific duties based on particular knowledge, expertise, or company needs, managers can have a broader and more complex set of responsibilities. More than just specialized knowledge, management requires an ability to navigate numerous procedural, structural, and interpersonal challenges in the process of guiding one's team to the completion of various goals.

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.1 Consider what each of these functions entails, as well as how each may look in action.


One main role of a manager is creating a plan to meet company goals and objectives. This involves allocating employee resources and delegating responsibilities, as well as setting realistic timelines and standards for completion. Planning requires those in management roles to continuously check on team progress in order to make small adjustments when necessary, while still maintaining a clear picture of a company's larger aims and goals.

Much of one's planning function consists of working independently to determine what responsibilities must be given to which employees, setting priority levels for certain tasks, and creating timelines. However, communication also plays an important role. For example, managers deal with planning when they meet with company leadership to discuss short and long-term goals, and when they communicate the specifics of a new project to their team or check-in periodically to ensure individual objectives are being met on time.


Along with planning, a manager's organizational skills can help to ensure a company or departmental unit runs smoothly. From establishing internal processes and structures to knowing which employees or teams are best suited for specific tasks, keeping everyone and everything organized throughout daily operations are important functions of management.

Organization isn't just about delegating tasks efficiently and making sure employees have what they need to accomplish their tasks, however. Managers also need to be able to reorganize in response to new challenges. This could come into practice in the form of slightly adjusting the timeline for a project or re-allocating tasks from one team to another. Or, it could mean significantly altering a team's internal structure and roles in response to company growth.

The Four Functions of Management: What Managers Need to Know (2)

Explore Online Business Programs at American InterContinental University

  • Online Associate in Business Administration Degree
  • Online Bachelor's in Business Administration
  • Online BBA in Accounting
  • Online BBA in Entrepreneurship
  • Online BBA in Management
  • Online Master's in Business Administration


Managers should be comfortable and confident commanding their team members’ daily tasks as well as during periods of significant change or challenge. This involves projecting a strong sense of direction and leadership when setting goals and communicating new processes, products and services, or internal policy.

Leadership can manifest itself in a number of ways, including recognizing when employees need an extra boost of reinforcement and praise to handling conflicts between team members fairly and decisively. Often, managers may function as leaders even during small personal interactions by modeling supportive, encouraging, and motivational qualities.


To ensure all of the above functions are working toward the success of a company, managers should consistently monitor employee performance, quality of work, and the efficiency and reliability of completed projects. Control (and quality control) in management is about making sure the ultimate goals of the business are being adequately met, as well as making any necessary changes when they aren't.

How to Develop Key Management Skills

While some of the above functions of management can extend logically from experience and skills developed in entry-level positions, formal training and education may provide advantages. For instance, pursuing a business management degree can offer the opportunity to study management philosophies and best practices in order to help one prepare to pursue management positions following graduation.

Work to Develop Your Management Skills With an MBA

For those currently working in entry-level positions, seeking out a mentor at work and keeping an eye out for professional development opportunities can allow you to build the skills needed for management roles. Many people may also choose to return to school to pursue an MBA in order to help advance their business knowledge. Given that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will about 807,300 new management jobs created between 2016 and 2026,2 it may be sensible to hone your management skills.

Are you ready to take the next step? Learn more about online business degrees at AIU today.

1.“What Are the Four Basic Functions That Make Up The Management Process.” Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from: (Visited 04/29/18).
2.“Management Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: (Visited 08/31/18). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to
1361765 8/18

Related Articles

  • 8 Types of Business Degree Specializations You Can Pursue
  • Accounting Career Fields
  • Can You Go To College with a GED?
  • Developing Business Management Skills
  • Do You Need a Degree To Start A Business?
  • Earning a Master’s Degree in Accounting
  • Graduate Certificate vs. Master’s Degree: What’s the Difference
  • How Many Credits Are Needed for a Bachelor's Degree?
  • Is Finance a Good Degree For Me?
  • Is Marketing a Good Major?
  • Earning a Distance Learning MBA
  • Majoring in Finance: What to Expect as a Finance Major
  • The Four Functions of Management: What Managers Need to Know
  • What's the Difference Between Business Administration and Business Management?
  • Why Your Associate Degree is an important step towards earning your Bachelor’s Degree

Request Info Apply Now


The Four Functions of Management: What Managers Need to Know (2024)


The Four Functions of Management: What Managers Need to Know? ›

The four functions of management are planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Successful managers must do all four while managing their work and team. These are foundational of any professional managerial position.

Why is it important for managers to truly understand the 4 functions of management? ›

Effective management is a cornerstone of organizational success. By understanding and implementing the four functions of management – the planning function, the organizing function, the leading function, and the controlling function – a manager can steer an organization toward achievement.

What are the skills used by managers when performing the four functions of management? ›

Over the years, Fayol's functions were combined and reduced to the following four main functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

Which of the four functions of management is most important? ›

Strategic planning

The highest and most crucial level of planning looks at the long-range, big-picture view of the company. It identifies future threats and opportunities and sets long-term direction and organizational goals.

Which of the 4 main functions that managers carry out do you feel is most important in criminal justice organizations why? ›

Planning is essential for criminal justice organizations as it helps them to establish clear objectives and develop strategies to achieve these goals. Without a plan, organizations may lack direction and be uncoordinated in their efforts.

Why is it important for every manager to understand the many different management theories? ›

It is very important to every manager to be equipped with different management theories​ because : Using the management theory in a workplace allows the leadership focus on main goal. When the management style or may be any theory implemented, it is automatically streamlines top priority for organization.

What is the most important in management function? ›

The first and the most important function of management is Planning. Planning involves setting objectives in advance, a goal which is to be achieved within a stipulated time. Various alternatives are formulated in order to achieve the goals.

What are the 4 functions of management explain each function with example? ›

The four functions of management, with examples. The four functions of management — planning, organizing, leading, and controlling — serve as the pillars that allow organizations to meet their goals. These functions are interdependent and equally important for ensuring the smooth operation of any business.

Which skills do managers need to perform effectively? ›

The following are 6 essential skills that managers need to have in order to manage employees effectively and efficiently to get the best from them.
  • Good communication. ...
  • Good Organisation. ...
  • Team Building. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Ability to Deal with Changes Effectively. ...
  • Domain Knowledge. ...
  • How Your Management Skills can be Improved.

Which of the four basic functions of a manager is most important or is there one more important than the others? ›

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.

Which function of management is least important? ›

"Direction is the least important function of management".

What is the most difficult function of a manager why? ›

Overall, the most difficult function of a manager is arguably managing people. It requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and emotional intelligence to be successful. By prioritizing effective people management, managers can help create a positive and productive work environment for their team.

What are the four 4 levels of management? ›

The four most common types of managers are top-level managers, middle managers, first-line managers, and team leaders. These roles vary not only in their day-to-day responsibilities, but also in their broader function in the organization and the types of employees they manage.

What are the roles of a manager? ›

The manager's role includes the includes: 1) Setting objectives 2) Analyzing 3) Leading 4) Making decisions 5) Reviewing. Managers are split into three levels: Low-level managers, middle-level managers and top-level managers.

What are the four basic functions of management quizlet? ›

  • Planning.
  • Organizing.
  • Leading.
  • Controlling.
Jan 28, 2021

Which are the four primary functions of a manager quizlet? ›

The four basic functions of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources.

Why a study of management functions is necessary for their managers? ›

Functions of management highlight essential skills that every manager needs to supervise, coordinate and communicate with their teams. As a good manager, you need to have the right insight to understand who you're working with and how you can use their abilities for the greater good of the organization.

Why is management and management functions important? ›

Importance of management

Helps in achieving group goals: Effective management gives a common direction to individual efforts and guides them towards achieving the overall goals of an organisation. Increases efficiency: Efficiency reduces costs and increases productivity in all spheres of an organisation's work.

What are the 4 functions of management and the purpose of each function? ›

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. 1 Consider what each of these functions entails, as well as how each may look in action.

How important is the function of management? ›

Accomplish goals – It is possible to accomplish goals without management, but it would be extremely difficult. With proper management, an organization is allowed to plan and balance their resources in such a way that every task is completed. This does not only relate to businesses, but it also applies to our lives.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 5751

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.