The effectiveness of a leader depends on how well his subordinates work. His competence includes the ability to assign tasks so that they are completed exactly as required. However, this does not always work out. It happens that the employee did not hear, did not understand, or misinterpreted, and then there will be no effective implementation.

How to give instructions to an employee so that he fulfills them flawlessly? 

Many people think that effective managers do nothing but give orders to their subordinates. However, this is not an indicator of efficiency. Orders are a management method for emergencies, and real managers do not order, but direct and motivate employees, helping them determine the best way to solve problems. This is where open-ended questions help. 

Situation selection

First of all, you need to choose the right moment. It is best to arrange meetings in a separate office space where you can explain the task without distractions.

If you decide to just briefly distract an employee when he is busy with some kind of work, then you risk not conveying the meaning of the task at all. Most likely, he will immediately forget the new task, because he will return to what he was doing before you arrived. Even worse, if you catch and load a subordinate somewhere in the hallway or dining room. These methods should be avoided. 

Use digital tools

For high-quality output, you need not only to have the ability to correctly set tasks but also to use tools that allow you to control the workflow and all its details. In order not to constantly update the list of tasks and details for them in your head, it is better to fix all the materials in written form from the beginning. However, not every tool will provide better visibility into the progress of work and increase your efficiency in controlling it.

A diary for notes seems convenient and practical. In fact, it is easy to get confused with paper and pen in all work processes. Tracking employees’ activities often requires an area larger than a diary sheet. Moreover, it is impossible to make adjustments or change statuses in it. 

Now we always have a gadget at hand, so electronic tools will be a real assistant in our work. You can find an adapted application for any device, which means that the information will always be there, on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Working with tasks in the task manager provides a number of effective tools for exercising control. Reports allow you to select from the list by all required parameters, the calendar provides tracking of tasks by priority status and deadlines. The to-do list app is not only an effective but also a very convenient control tool, with a visual display of the stages of task implementation on the board. The status assigned to a particular task can be changed, and the task can move across the board from one stage to the next.

Allocate 30% of your time to work with subordinates

According to the standard management model, the manager should devote at least one hour per week to one direct report to discuss current activities. 

But, in fact, one hour is barely enough to discuss current issues. Hold joint meetings in a relaxed atmosphere. This format works well when discussing long-term issues. 

Some task-setting methods 


One of the most popular and proven goal-setting methods. Often used to manage organizations, departments, and projects, but also suitable for setting personal goals. One of the advantages of the method is that it requires a deep study of reality and not just future achievements. SMART goals are achievable, measurable, and specific, and allow you to think through all the necessary nuances.

  • Specific: A precise, detailed description of the result you are aiming for. The goal statement should answer two questions: what result are you striving for, and why do you need such a result?
  • Measurable: The result of the goal must have an exact numerical expression, otherwise it will be difficult to determine its effectiveness. 
  • Achievable: The item requires an assessment of how realistic it is to achieve a particular goal. To do this, it is necessary to analyze the accompanying circumstances and conclude whether there are sufficient resources to achieve the goal.
  • Relevant: You need to be highly motivated to achieve your goal. Its presence or absence will show how significant a goal is for you.
  • Time-bound: any goal can remain a dream if you do not define a clear time frame for its implementation. It is desirable to place intermediate reference points for the realization of the goal.

Recently, ER has been added to this abbreviation.

These two additional letters are responsible for the feedback and motivation of the one who sets goals and achieves them.

  • Evaluation (feedback): without a regularly planned feedback loop at every significant step, even a simple goal cannot be achieved, the environment is too complex and turbulent. Along the way, feedback also provides the right level of motivation and inspiration.
  • Reward (encouragement or prize for achievement): our ability to see and celebrate progress determines long-term motivation. Notice and celebrate even the smallest steps toward your goal. The more realistic and closer it will seem.

The SMART(ER) method is quite versatile. Its main advantage is clear detail. The method has been criticized for being disconnected from the personality of the performer and the implementation process, so it has two new elements. Today, this method is perhaps the most famous in the field of goal setting.

Objectives and Key Results 

OKR is a project management methodology for synchronizing team and individual goals. It provides effective control of tasks in the implementation of the company’s strategy.


  • Goals are formulated from the bottom up. At least half of the goals must be set by the teams themselves
  • A limited number of targets
  • Honesty. Company goals and key indicators of teams are available to everyone
  • Do not impose. Management and employees agree on priorities and assessment methods
  • Flexibility. If the environment changes, the goals must be adjusted
  • Inflated goals. If everyone strives for a high level of achievement, the result will be better
  • OKR is a tool. The methodology should help employees in their work, this is not a document for certification 
  • Patience. Do not be afraid of failure, the trial and error stage is a mandatory process.


The three most important components of a properly built interaction between a leader and his subordinates are high professionalism, the ability to delegate, and proper communication with performers. Through the skillful combination of these three components, a successful leader can increase the productivity of his subordinates.

In addition, it is necessary to follow the principles of task setting, keep all assignments in one place electronically, and use methods designed for effective task setting and execution.