As a leader, a large part of your role is going to involve providing instructions for people to follow, and then helping to make sure that they follow those instructions and complete them.
While this might sound like a very simple part of the job, it’s actually an area where there is a lot of room for error – and this can seriously undermine your effectiveness as a leader. Read on then, and we’ll discuss how best to provide instructions so that they are followed correctly.
Be Clear and Concise
The first and most important rule when it comes to providing instructions, is to be as clear and concise as possible. That means reeling off the points in a bulleted list that outlines each step that a person needs to take. This will in turn ensure that they aren’t confused, and it will be especially important during high pressure situations.
In fact, wherever possible, a great idea is actually to provide some form of checklist. Countless studies show that when you provide a professional with a checklist, they will tend to complete much better work. This is because they can’t overlook or forget an important step. This is not only useful for beginners, but also for the highly trained who can sometimes become complacent and forget important steps.
Explain the Why
Using lots of detailed and simplified instructions might sound like you’re talking down to your employees or team members. It certainly does run this risk!
That’s why it is so important that you make sure that you also explain why you are giving any instructions. When you do this, you are giving the people listening to you more respect and responsibility, which will help to motivate them to do better work.
More importantly though, explaining why someone should do something will help them to better understand what you have asked and it will reduce the likelihood of error.
At the same time, when you give these kinds of explanations, you also provide your listeners with the ability to make their own decisions about how work gets done – which allows them to be more creative AND to work around problems.
If you are tasked with following a specific instruction with no idea why you need to do so, then you won’t be able to adapt to challenges that come up. But if you know what the end goal is, you can think outside the box and find an alternative option to reach the same point!