Our reader poll today asks: How do you react when people don’t follow written instructions?
- No big deal, unless it causes a major issue or possible safety/security risk 9.18%
- It irks me — it’s written down. But I don’t get too upset 30.57%
- I get frustrated. Why did I bother to write it down for them in the first place? 45.63%
- It makes me go nuts. It’s in black and white. They’re just being lazy 14.62%
Read the instructions! 60% of you get frustrated and beyond when people don’t follow written instructions (and another 31% of you are irked by it). It’s a big problem because of the errors, confusion, and inefficiency it causes when people don’t read instructions. So what can you do about it? First, make sure any instructions you provide are bare bones and as simple as possible. Second, explain the consequences of not following instructions (e.g., safety issues, financial losses, etc. that can be tied directly to that particular task). Third, send the instructions far enough in advance – if your directions arrive late, you might be causing people to rush and make mistakes. Fourth, try providing instructions in different formats to see what works best (e.g., email, presentation, pamphlets, videos, audio file, etc.). Finally, be sure you read instructions given to you carefully – you need to set the example.
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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 240,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.