2 Tips for Giving Effective Instructions

Are you setting-up your team for success?

Have you ever turned over a major project to someone and things didn’t turn out well? As a leader, we have all had that experience.

Photo by Alexis Brown

Once, our organization hosted a major event which I would normally oversee preparations. However, this time I empowered another member of my team to make it happen…

During our initial meeting, we discussed the importance of the event. Of course, I asked if the individual had any questions. As the event approached, I checked in with the individual to make sure everything was on track. The response was “everything is ready.”

On the day of the event, I checked in again to make sure we were ready. Well, I am sure you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the venue and things were not as I expected. The individual in charge knew from my expression that I wasn’t pleased.

As the individual approached me, I could tell he was concerned. We made some adjustments and I told him we would speak later. We started the program and after the event, I received several compliments.

During the program, I found myself wondering what was my role in this situation. I asked myself, “Were my instructions clear?” As a leader, I understand it is my responsibility to give clear instructions that empower others. Did I set the conditions for success?

The way you give instructions is going to be one of the most important and defining features of you as a leader.

Ultimately, this is what will make up much of your job! As a leader, you are going to spend most of your day-to-day activities asking people to do things and checking they are done correctly.

But to do this well, you need to know how to give instructions in order to ensure the best outcome. Here’s what you need to do…

Be clear and precise

The first and most important thing you need to do is to be clear and precise. The reason for this is that you need to be able to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings. If you give unclear instructions, that will lead to your team either needing to ask for more information and clarification from you or to making mistakes that lead to big problems.

This means that the good leader is also a good communicator by default. If you’re not a good communicator… train yourself to be!

Explain the Why

What’s even more important though is that you explain the why in what you are asking people to do. In fact, better yet is to ask people to achieve a certain result, tell them why and give no instruction on how.

This makes you a more hands-off leader and less of a micromanager. People like this because it gives more work satisfaction and makes them feel trusted.

Moreover though, explaining the what and why more than the how is going to allow your team to be flexible where necessary.

Either way, they have now achieved the same results quicker and with more satisfaction because they haven’t had to ask your permission for every slight deviation in the plan!

Are you setting-up your team for success?

Your friend,
Kim

Dr. Kim Moore, guiding YOU to lead with confidence!

Dr. Kim Moore

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