The way you give instructions is going to be one of the most important defining features of you as a leader. Because ultimately, this is what will make up the majority of your job! As a leader, you are going to be spending most of your day-to-day asking people to do things and then checking they are done correctly.
But in order to do this well, you need to know how to give instructions and how 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, then that will lead to your team either needing to ask for more information and clarification from you or to them making mistakes that lead to big problems and possibly lose you money.
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 first of all 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.
Let’s say for example that you tell your staff they need to print 500 fliers and deliver them around the neighbourhood. What happens if then the printers break? Or if the roads are snowed off? Now your team will either be stuck, or they’ll come to you to ask for direction.
Instead, tell your team they need to get 500 adverts out in the local area. This now opens up many contingency plans and other options. They could maybe outsource the flier creation to a printing company for instance, or they might use email instead or advertise in the town hall.
Either way, they have now achieved the same thing quicker and with more satisfaction because they haven’t had to ask your permission for every slight deviation in the plan!