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A Good Manager Does Not Give Orders
By Mike Krutza

A manager is a boss, so people think that good management is giving orders. Not at all. A good manager does not give orders and in fact, should not. Giving orders is telling somebody to do something. “Roger’s schedule should be on late shift”, or “get those files on my desk right away”. These are orders. When you order a subordinate to do something, you’re not giving them the opportunity to think about what to do or how to do something. They’re simply limited to doing something exactly as you told them to. There are two reasons why it’s not good to give orders.

Why It’s Not Good To Give Orders

  • You’re not allowing the person to be analytical when doing their task
  • You’re not giving them the opportunity to learn

There are times when giving orders is appropriate, such as in the military. The leader just has to give orders to the squad when they need to “charge that hill”, for example. It’s simply for them to do without thinking about it. Nonetheless, in the military, orders are not given unless necessary.

A Manager Gives Instructions

Instead of giving orders, what does a good manager do? A good manager gives instructions. Giving instructions is not telling somebody what to do, but telling them what you want done.

Why is it better to give instructions, i.e., tell an employee what you want done? When you do so, you allow your subordinate to think. Rather than mechanically doing a task, your employee will have to think of ways to do what they have to do. Then again, as manager, you have to monitor and guide your employees because they might not think of and do the best way of carrying out your instructions. The contrary is also true wherein your subordinate can figure out a better way of accomplishing the task than you expected.

Why It Works

An employee has to think when they are given an instruction. Different possible ways of doing the task will have to be considered, afterwhich the subordinate has to determine which is the best method. It’s more than empty minded robotic functioning but rather investing a little of oneself in the solution. You get your employees’ buy in and support when you give them instructions. It fosters their confidence and belief in what they do. If their work is questioned, they’ll be more confident to defend themselves. Giving instructions is the best solution for good management that works both for you as manager and your employees.

Mike Krutza specializes in executive coaching with individuals and teams. Visit Mike’s website here.

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