Do you find yourself frequently misinterpreting or even questioning directions on the job? Following directions at work is important in helping you to be successful in your career. If following directions is an issue for you, it is time to step back and take a good look at what’s going on.
Identify the Cause
you’ve conquered step one—recognizing there is a problem. Next you need to identify what might be
causing you to misinterpret, question, or even outright ignore the direction of
those in authority.
culprit can be miscommunication; you may be misinterpreting verbal or written
directions from management. Be sure you are listening to directions carefully,
then restate the directions in your own words and clarify anything you do not
understand. Another idea: if directions
are verbally communicated, follow up by reiterating them in writing. This is particularly helpful if directions
are unclear, ambiguous, or complicated. Avoid impromptu hallway discussions
about detailed tasks and directions; instead, request a meeting so you can come
prepared or request directions in writing.
you’ve decided miscommunication isn’t the issue, ask yourself if you are
challenging direction because you disagree with the approach?
employers welcome employees who use their knowledge and expertise to develop
solutions and ideas, but be sure to present these in a professional
manner. If management disagrees with
your approach and instructs you to implement the original directions, do so respectfully
unless extreme circumstances will compromise you or the company legally or
If your inability to follow directions stems from a
lack of respect for your direct manager, explore opportunities to move to
another group within the organization.
If the issue is a lack of respect for company leadership, you may need
to find a different employer altogether.