How To Give Clear Instructions

How To Give Clear Instructions

June 19, 2019

It is the responsibility of the supervisor or manager to give clear job instructions. When this happens, the task usually gets done properly without the need to backtrack – saving time, money, and hassles.

Match instructions to individual employees. Strive to capture the style of each listener. Visual people will respond if you show them how to do the job; auditory people need you to tell them how to do it; and kinesthetic people may prefer a hands-on opportunity to learn as you monitor them.

Explain the big picture. Let the employee know how a particular task dovetails into the vision of the company and contributes to its success.

Set ground rules. Be sure to state your ultimate goal for the project and clearly define areas where the employee is responsible and accountable.

Detail expected results and how they will be measured, indicate milestones to be reached, and deadlines that apply.

Identify precise procedures to be followed. Provide some flexibility. Illustrate the kinds of situations where the employee is expected to use personal judgment.

Furnish written instructions – especially for complex segments of the assignment or for infrequently performed tasks. Also, be sure to communicate both do’s and don’ts.

Respond to questions. Invite questions – not just at the beginning, but throughout the project. Be patient and respectful as you provide answers (and keep in mind that questions may mean that instructions were less than clear). Avoid creating the impression of giving “orders.”

~ Patricia Haddock, Communicating With Employees, Communications Consulting, 3193 16th St., San Francisco, CA

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