Middle managers are responsible for controlling operations. This does not mean operating as micromanagers. Control is simply the actions that managers take after making decisions. Control is used to establish timetables and achieve goals.
Basics of Control
Management control is used to direct and guide operations. There are two types of control: regulative and normative. Regulative controls regulate the policies and procedures of the company. Normative control is the cultural behavior in teams and the organization. There are several different types of regulative controls and normative controls.
- Bureaucratic Control: This type of control comes from the chain of command or company hierarchy.
- Financial Control: These are the key metrics that managers are responsible for meeting and surpassing.
- Quality Control: The regulative control that determines the quality of the product or service.
- Teams: This type of control defines the unofficial roles of team members.
- Culture: This control is made up of the values, beliefs, and customs of the organization that bring the employees together.
The Control Process
Managers need to keep control of tasks and operations. There are four steps to the control process that middle managers need to consider when implementing control.
- Standards: Managers need to create plans and standards of measurement to gauge performance.
- Measure: Once standards are established, measure performance regularly. Provide feedback.
- Compare: Compare performance with the standards of measurement. Performance reports are an example of this comparison.
- Action: Take action to correct mistakes and guide performance such as corrective action.
Is Control Necessary or Possible?
Control has its limitations. It is not possible to have complete control at all times because life is unpredictable. Situations change and every possible outcome may not be accounted for in the planning stages. Strict control management will not guarantee the best possible outcome for a project. It may not even be the most efficient method to use. While it is important to have standards and measures, the most effective business plans include an element of flexibility.
How and What to Control
Control management is effective when it is exercised appropriately. The problem many managers face with control is with regard to morale. The human element must be approached in the planning stage. It is also essential that people be coached and rewarded rather than simply punished and penalized. Controls have traditionally used exact numbers or measures as goals. Ranges of measurement are much more effective, and they give people more control over their performance.
The control methods that a manager must use depend on the situation. Each type of control demands its own method.
Bureaucratic Control Methods:
- Standard operating procedures: Create rules that define the policies and procedures. An employee handbook is one example.
- Output control: This monitors action and helps correct mistakes.
Financial Control Methods:
- Financial policies: Budgets and money managing policies are essential to control.
- Roles and responsibilities: Assign roles and responsibilities to those in charge.
- Reports: Keep regular financial reports and audits.
Quality Control Methods:
- Statistical process: Mathematical procedures determine control.
- Process and capability study: Sample random products to determine quality.
- Norms: Create informal rules and assign responsibility based on qualifications.
- Language: Use language that aligns company culture to corporate values.
- Socialization: Employees work together towards common goals and values.