7 Ways to Succeed at Telling People What to Do

Being told what to do eliminates ambiguity, uncertainty, and confusion.

When I travel, I’m often told where to go, who to meet, what time to be there. Before going on stage, for example, someone pulls back the curtain and tells me when to step out.


There’s freedom in being told what to do.

5 benefits of being told what to do:

  1. Freedom from worry that you’re missing something.
  2. Confidence to act with boldness.
  3. Focus for energy to do what matters.
  4. Liberation of your strength.
  5. Clarity for your mind.

7 ways to tell people what to do:

  1. Agree on the destination. It’s frustrating to be told what to do when their goal isn’t yours.
  2. Understand people. It doesn’t matter what you tell others to do if they can’t do it.
  3. Build teams who love to do what needs to be done, then tell them to do it.
  4. Tell people to do more of what they love.
  5. Tell people what to do so they can participate in something bigger than themselves.
  6. Remove barriers and obstacles. Make it easier for people to do what they love to do.
  7. Surround yourself with people who love to do what you hate to do. Remember that the people who love doing what you hate may rub you the wrong way. Diversity takes you further than uniformity.

Bonus: Ask people how they like to be told what to do. Adapt.

What is the wrong way to tell people what to do?

How can leaders create freedom and energy by telling people what to do?