Management is a matter of process for opting with the environment by optimizing the resources as men, money, material and machine for achieving the specific goals. In common parlance management is the process of getting things done. And manage is the agent who optimizes the resources by managing the work environment. The process of management runs through classic five functions. They are planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. Very often the pragmatists have grouped these five distinct functions into one and that is coordination. I personally attribute to this philosophy as a student of management.
Yet another characteristic of management process is its universality. The process is common to all activities, organized or disorganized.They may be distinguished in their effectiveness, designing, creating, and maintaining of work environment as integral of all activities; be it inustry,government,armedforces,house,office, school,enterprise,hospital, shop or project-you name any activity. It also impliesthat in any activitythe thrust of focus is on one person-the manager.
The office of themanager enjoys the inherent authoritywhich invokes respect and recognition of the fact that all othersare in the status of subordinate resources. Whenever this thesis of unity of command is broken, the result is chaos, crisis, unproductivity, waste, unhappiness and disaster. ‘Hell is let loose’ is the situation
With this backdrop, I shall now provide the motivational index what I have said in the last issue of ‘Ankur’ through my article’ I have been induced’.The fact is as student of management studies the observation and reflection have always fascinated me .Before marriage my perception that house wife is a manager, was a matter of theory but the perception got solidified as reflection upon the performance of my wife over last 20 years. I have been proclaiming so in all forums – small or big, private or public but all have been taking me non-seriously including my wife who continues to believe even today that i have been saying so as one of those things.
My sole inspiration is ‘She’ my She I mean. Therefore the validity of my observation is all proof and not a matter of theoretical deduction.
House wife as manager has four resources –men (She herself wife, mother and mistress, husband, children, relations and personal servants) money (salary and saving) material (house eholditems, house structure, clothing, decor, furniture, books etc. And machinery (electrical gadgets/scooter/car/refrigerator/air-conditioner and so on). The goal to be achieved is fulfillment of family aspirations educationally, materially, aesthetically, emotionally and spiritually. She plans, organizes, staffs and controls all resources. The process of coordination can be meaningfully illustrated by describing any single activity of home. The objective is to entertain certain relative guests so as to make them feel at home’. When are they coming, how many of them, who all, for how long and what for would provide inputs for planning. Besides availability of resources like accommodation and money this will also affect rescheduling of other activities in the home so as to afford ‘best’ to the visiting relatives.
Remember all activities including individual behavior of children and husband will get modified. In arranging things, redoing of the setting, employing additional servants or rescheduling working of existing servants, escorting children to and from school, additional purchases, provisioning of linen /cooking/serving wares would attract the process of organizing and staffing. Let everyone including the husband know the expectation of performance while guests are around, will fall in the area of ‘directing’ and ‘seeing ‘ that gap is not created between expectation and performance of all ,will need application of principles of ‘controlling’function. A fine blending of all these functions is ‘coordination’.
A word of caution for house wives who opt to act as manager of the house. Since she is the resource herself as wife/mother/mistress, she has to perform dual role of a resource as wife/ mother/ mistress and second as a house manager. It should not happen that her role as a house manager overshadows the functions/obligations enjoined on her as wife/mother/mistress resulting in neglect of her duties in that role. This will yield unproductive results. Cautious approach and self-evaluation for finer distinction in performance of dual role will provide
answer to the complexity of the situation. Very often it will be noticed that you as house wife in your role of house manager will be reprimanding yourself for non-performance or low performance of your role as wife/mother/mistress. This calls for very high degree of self – discipline.
The coordination unifies all actions for promoting desired results. Three essential of coordination are:-Principle of interdepend ability/each functionary is mutually inclusive or (need for co-existence)Principle of equal utility/each functionary is equally significant. Running down of one will upset the apple cart.(c)Principle of communication flow/continuous talking amongst the functionaries. Any disregard of these basic precepts will result in ineffective management. ‘I can do without you’ or ‘you can pack up ‘or’children are pain in the neck’or’relatives have made our life miserable’ are the negative indications. This needs skillful therapy.
‘Directing’ and ‘controlling’ are rather exacting functions of management. Communication, motivation, delegation, feedback and realignment of operational strategy need high degree of skill. Bullying, over centralization ‘couldn’t careless attitude’, disregard of individual needs, indecisiveness, delayedresponsiveness; misplaced priorities are some of the pitfalls. These result in nagging in home resulting in disharmony. Quick comprehension, ability torationalize and quick decision all backed with commonsense and high value will of help in this context.
There is no denying that house wife is a manager. This enjoins heavy responsibilities on her. For meeting this heavy demand she has to equalherself with managerial competence, more particularly in themechanism of human behavior. Good reading, experiencesharing and formal exposure to behavioral science courses will greatly assist the house – wives in becoming effective manager.
House – wife to be effective manager should cultivate the leadership traits of Bearing (exemplary appearance, carriage and conduct. Remember there is no scope for bad temper .Use of abusive language is a sin)/Decisiveness( making decision promptly, timelyand accurately)Dependability(certainty of proper performance of duties)Endurance(Ability to withstand pain, fatigue,stress and hardship)Enthusiasm(interest and zeal in performance with cheerful and optimistic attitude) Initiative (action in anticipation by thinking ahead) Integrity (uprightness of character , soundness of moral principles and quality of absolute truthfulness and honesty) Judgment (ability of logically weighing facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions)Justice(being impartial, fair and equitable)Knowledge of profession,i.e. house management of environment of all persons working in home, broad spectrum of general knowledge)Loyalty(quality of faithfulness to self, family, society, country and humanity)Tact(ability to deal with others including children without offending them. Courteous behavior and doing things by understanding human behavior is the part of tact) and unselfishness (the quality of avoiding providing for own comfort at the expense of others).
While managing my advice to young, old and not so old house – wives will be to apply SWOT analysis (S for strength for weakness, 0 for opportunity, T for threats) Harness your strong aspects, reinforce your weaknesses by improvement drive including self-improvement, take advantage of opportunities for effective working and learn to deal with threats. Remember it is possible to deal with internal threats but one has to cope with external threats. Threats indicate the opposing factors. Some can be managed, others can’t. – say ‘in laws’. What is the answer? Condemn them. No! One must cope with them by accepting them as they are till they are.
Hell or Heaven! Choice is yours. It is for you to manage your house- for peace and prosperity. Think, evaluate, realign and change if things are not shaping as they should. Open mind approach with common sense will retrieve the situation and all the best!
(Flt Lt OP Sharma authored during 1970-1971 and published in annual ANKUR magazine of AIR FORCE WIVES ASSOCIATION)