What Is the Importance of Following Instructions?

Photo Courtesy: svetikd/Getty Images

Following instructions can simplify tasks, increase effectiveness, eliminate confusion, and save time. Not to mention, it makes for a safer building process. But instruction-following also has some added benefits. For one, when instructions are properly followed, things work well — and people work well together. In fact, folks who follow instructions show that they are cooperative, intelligent, and dependable, while those who disregard instructions can cause obstacles — and safety concerns — down the line.

Failure to Follow Instructions

Humans learn to follow directions from an early age. It quickly becomes clear, even before we are conscious of it, that following instructions is important for safety. As we continue to grow, we also begin to learn that following instructions comes with many other benefits outside of keeping us safe.

Photo Courtesy: FreshSplash/Getty Images

Typically, properly following instructions involves listening or reading carefully and asking questions when necessary. Those who follow instructions tend to find it easier to complete the task at hand. However, when a person fails to follow instructions, it can often lead to a lot of frustration and chaos, no matter the environment. Completing the task then becomes a lot more difficult and stressful.

Many people don’t realize it, but following instructions is an important life skill that can apply to almost every setting, from school and work to public transportation. For example, failure to follow instructions in an academic setting can negatively impact how well a person learns the subject matter, and, as a result, their grades may suffer. Another example? Failure to follow a recipe when cooking can cause you to end up eating something that doesn’t taste very good. And, finally, failure to follow instructions while driving can cause car accidents, which can lead to hefty fines, expensive car repairs, or injury.

Importance of Following Instructions at Work

Following instructions at work can have different implications depending on the employment setting. In certain job situations, following instructions is a matter of safety (or, in some settings, it’s even a matter of life and death). In others, it can impact opportunities for career advancement. In virtually every work environment, following instructions has the potential to impact one’s day-to-day stress levels and overall quality of life.

Photo Courtesy: Morsa Images/Getty Images

Following instructions can be a serious matter in terms of safety when it comes to the healthcare industry. Doctors, nurses, and administrative staff must follow instructions when dealing with patients to protect their health and the health of their patients. If a doctor does not follow the proper procedures during surgery, it could result in a patient’s injury or death. If a nurse does not follow instructions for administering medication, it can put a patient’s well-being in jeopardy as well.

Moreover, safety on the job goes hand-in-hand with following instructions in other fields too. For example, factory and construction workers handle heavy machinery, and not following directions could put themselves or others in great danger. This includes the direct danger that can come with dealing with machines and equipment in general. It also involves making sure to put things together correctly so that the finished product does not endanger anyone. If a construction worker decided not to follow instructions properly when building a house, for example, it could end up being unstable, making it an eventual danger to the people living in it.

Even in settings that don’t deal directly with public health or safety, following instructions at work is important. In an office job, following instructions can significantly impact a person’s well-being. When someone does their work right the first time, everyone involved is happy and it creates a positive and productive work environment. Moreover, the employee is happy because they did their job well and likely have received positive feedback from their boss. On the other hand, if an employee does not follow instructions on a task, it can lead to a lot of stress for everyone involved, impacting a person’s mood and the company’s bottom line. If the issue of not following instructions becomes an ongoing one, one might face disciplinary actions, which, in turn, impact one’s quality of life.

Following Manufacturer’s Instructions

Most products, no matter how simple they might seem to be, come with manufacturer’s instructions. If you happen to lose them, they are almost always available online and can be downloaded for free.

Photo Courtesy: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Reading manufacturers’ instruction manuals helps you understand how to properly use a product and utilize all of its features. Without reading those guides, it becomes easy to miss important details about how something works and any safety protocols that are necessary to follow to avoid property damage or personal injury. They can not only help with setting up or installing the product, but also with troubleshooting any issues that might arise later on.

Product instructions also come with items that you have to assemble yourself, such as a bookshelf or a table. Trying to build an item like this without looking at the instructions often results in incorrect assembly. In this case, you’ll likely have to take it apart and start over again, causing a lot of frustration — not to mention, a loss of your valuable time.