Stop telling people how to do their work

Here’s another great LinkedIn article from our CEO, giving you a peek into what’s behind all that great testing! People knowing their job and well, doing it!

I stopped it. Successfully. It took me 33 years and 9 months. My entire lifetime, to get to this point. I killed that disease in me of telling people how to do it. What amazes me is – I opposed this very idea of people telling me how to do my work and in turn did it to people working with me because I didn’t realize I was doing it.

The 3 step process of unlearning

Unlearning is hard. That is why smokers have a problem coming out of the habit they know is bad. As unlearning is hard, humans make it more hard on themselves because they want to do it. Sometimes trying too hard to get something makes it harder to get that.

Unlearning to me is a 3 step process

  1. Step 1: Becoming conscious of what I am doing.
  2. Step 2: Asking a question if I want to continue doing it.
  3. Step 3: Taking action.

Why do we tell others how to do things?

  1. We think we know how to do it.
  2. We are people who have been there done that.
  3. We got promoted to manage people because we did a great job doing it.
  4. We think it is pretty easy and we want to tell others how easy it is.
  5. We enjoy doing it.
  6. Makes us feel worthy of ourselves. A false sense of worthiness.
  7. We want to help people see our expertise.
  8. We want to help.
  9. We think we are doing a great job as a leader by telling people how to do it.
  10. We think if we don’t tell them how to do it, they would end up doing something stupid.
  11. We get satisfaction if someone does something our way.
  12. We want our colleagues to be successful.
  13. We think we hired other human beings as robots who listen to our instructions.
  14. We don’t have the power to see someone fail with us.
  15. We blow the magnitude of a colleague’s failure

In my case, I hired smart people and told them how to do things, sometimes. Just like everybody else. I want my colleagues to be successful. However, for them to be successful, I have to let them learn how to do things and facilitate them to do those things. Not tell them – how to do things. It was not a straight forward way to get to this learning in my life. That is why it is called life otherwise it would be called a set of instructions to call a subroutine 🙂

What happens to people who listen to you about how to do their work?

  1. They wait for your instruction every time to do their work.
  2. They wait for your approval after they are done with their thought process.
  3. They feel bad about themselves.
  4. They feel inferior.
  5. They fail to see the big picture.
  6. They slow things down.
  7. They do what you want them to do for that day but don’t do what they should be doing for the future.
  8. Their dream becomes narrow and their thinking becomes smaller.
  9. They start assuming constraints.
  10. They will never grow to something that the world can benefit from.
  11. They lack courage because they have never given a chance to bring it out.
  12. They fear failure.

Why do people ever listen to others?

  1. They think they need to.
  2. They think that is their job.
  3. They think it would land them in trouble if they don’t listen.
  4. They have a family telling them every day to not lose their job.
  5. They are unable to think big (and they are unable to because they have been listening to others).
  6. They are in the wrong job for the wrong reasons.
  7. They shouldn’t have been hired for that job in the first place.
  8. They trade their freedom for money.
  9. They don’t recognize that their human brain is capable to learn and think.
  10. For several years they lived a life that way and they assume that is how life is.

What happens after you stop telling them how to do their work?

  1. Of course, they will look blank on their face on the first pass but that’s a good start.
  2. They will start to think or bring their potential out.
  3. They will see their failure points and you will see if they care to fix it.
  4. They will learn more about how to do their job every day and they will get better at it.
  5. You will know the kind of people to hire and not hire.
  6. They will start owning the outcome of their decision.
  7. They will start loving what they are doing.
  8. They will seek your advice when they really need it and you know you are being helpful and not intrusive.

The most important outcome of not telling people how to do their job is


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