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Managing people via instructions


Nothing is difficult for a person, who does not have to do it themselves. A humorous statement, but very apt, and very true.


In the corporate world, lots of instructions are passed every moment and it is expected that these will be carried through. Most of these instructions go down the hierarchy and most of the time, it is a one-way instruction. The organization’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability depend upon the correct completion of these instructions.


We, as managers, need to understand before giving instructions, whether these instructions have the clarity to be followed and implemented. Is it contradictory to the accepted practices and principles in the organization? Is it technically feasible? Do we allow the person getting the instructions to clarify their doubts? Do we explain to them the pros and cons of following or not following these instructions? Or do we simply ask them to complete the job, even if they have to beg, borrow or steal?


A manager’s job is full of responsibility and hence it is obvious that whatever needs to be done by the manager or her team is clearly defined and fully doable by the individual assigned. Any lack of skill or knowledge in carrying out the instructions will result in a waste of time and effort and hence loss of productivity.


While delivering the instructions for any job, the manager should have the capability and willingness to help the junior to complete the job, should she fail to deliver as per the requirements. Managers, who do not have the expertise to help their juniors with problems, should have a 100% understanding themselves of things going wrong and hence should upgrade themselves to guide the junior accordingly. At times, in the execution of technical skills, it may not be possible for the manager to do the same work better, but they should be able to theoretically explain. For example, a manager cannot weld better than a qualified welder but can surely tell her what should be the result like.


It will do well for the new managers to understand that they are managers, not bosses to order their juniors and expect them to complete the work without any explanation or support. Managers should be like leaders, who support and help their subordinates to reach greater heights. They need to understand that no individual is capable alone to reach the organizational goal, and it is always teamwork. The better oiled the machines and the team are, the better the performance. Managers need to understand that they can only grow when their team grows. It is a path of learning together.

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