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Leadership is multifaceted by Futhi Cabe

Leadership is multifaceted and includes among many things, giving both direction and advice to others. This means you will need to provide guidance and instruction from time to time. Unfortunately, in some cases the guidance provided is not clearly understood by the person on the receiving end, and the work carried out is not completed in line with expectations. If you are the person providing the direction, you will very likely get frustrated. You may even believe that it was your colleagues’ fault, not realizing that perhaps it was you who is responsible, because you were not clear with your instructions and expectations. Below are some suggestions on what you can do to ensure that everyone is on the same page when offering guidance and instruction to staff.

Be clear about what you want
Know exactly what you want to achieve. Before you deliver the instructions, be absolutely clear about what you want and how you are going to communicate your requirements to the person who has to carry out the instruction. What precisely is the result you have in mind?

Select the right person for the job.
Your orders will be more effectively carried out when you select a person with the correct skill and desire to carry out the task. This highlights the need for you to know your staff’s capabilities and motivations. Make sure that the person you select for a particular job is capable of completing it.

Use clear concise and plain language.
The sequence of your instruction should be clear and logical. The language you use should be plain, concrete and specific. Do your best to speak in terms that the receiver will understand and allow them time to fully comprehend the requirements. It is important that you are brief, accurate and to the point. Use short words and short sentences and use one sentence for each idea.

Check for understanding.
Make certain that the staff member concerned knows the essential elements of the instruction. If at all possible, show the person what you want or what things should look like when your instruction has been carried out. Ensure that there is absolute clarity about the desired direction and destination. By repeating the instruction and affording the employee the opportunity to ask questions, and better still by asking that your instruction gets repeated back to you, you will address any potential for doubt or misunderstanding.

Avoid overwhelming your staff.
Learning to anticipate reactions to an instruction and its presentation accordingly can be very helpful. You cannot afford to overwhelm people with too many orders. Try your best to have each task completed before assigning additional ones. Importantly, let employees know that you will remain accessible should there be problems or new questions arise.

Respect individual experience.
The way you deliver instructions should depend on the experience of individual employees and the particular situation and context. You cannot expect inexperienced employees to understand as much as those who have worked with you for some time. You must be fair. If you invite feedback from experienced employees, afford that same courtesy to others as well.

Final thoughts
Letting people in on your goals and priorities builds trust and encourages them to show initiative. Always think of an instruction in terms of quality, quantity, time, why, and how. Encourage note-taking. Communication that is delivered too casually might not be taken seriously. When issuing directives demonstrate confidence in the person you are giving it to.