Management is Not Leading, and It Isn’t Staffing Either

First thing I was taught as a management trainee at a large multinational corporation in 1985 was that there are four (4) basic functions to managing. 

These are:  Planning, Organising, Directing, Controlling.

In 2021, when I search for “management functions” on the Internet, the results mostly are:  Planning. Organising, Leading, Controlling, and Staffing.

Leading had replaced Directing.  There’s that additional 5th function called Staffing. 

I see leadership, management, and supervision as three circles, in which one is a subset of another:

Leading or leadership is not management but encompasses it and more.  Leadership is about influencing people towards a cause, philosophy, religion, or vision.  Management lies within leadership, not the other way around.  To call leadership a “function” of management degrades that special talent or gift of charisma and influence not many people have. 

Management is about getting and administering the resources that would bring reality to a leader’s cause.  Leadership is enrolling people while management is about enrolling resources and doing the details in enrolling people. 

And then there’s supervision.  Supervision is overseeing people, making sure they are following policies, rules, regulations, and directives laid down by managers and leaders.  It falls within the sphere of management but it isn’t management.

Staffing isn’t a function of management.  Management plans head counts for staffs, organises the resources for staffing, directs the staffing, and makes sure the staffing activities are under control.  But it isn’t a function by itself; it’s one of many activities covered by management. 

I wonder if the people who put in Leading and Staffing as management functions have done any actual management at all. 

About Overtimers Anonymous

Published by Ellery

Since I started blogging in 2019, I've written personal insights about supply chains, operations management, & industrial engineering. I have also delved in topics that cover how we deal with people, property, and service providers. My mission is to boost productivity via offering solutions and ideas. If you like what I write or disagree with what I say, feel free to like, dislike, comment, or if you have a lengthy discourse, email me at ; I'm also on LinkedIn:

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