Assigning Tasks Via Email: Giving Clear Instructions

In many offices, managers frequently use email when delegating tasks to their subordinates.  Email has increasingly gained in popularity as a task assignment tool for its many benefits.

For one, written documents detailing task assignments are easier to understand than verbal instructions which can lead to some amount of miscommunication.  Second, email gives you something to refer back to in case there are items you want to clarify.  Lastly, it allows you to have a documented record of the communication, which you can look up anytime someone needs to be made accountable for when things go awry.

To properly assign tasks by email, you need to provide enough information to allow the other person the carry out the action needed.  A simple instruction like “Can you schedule a meeting for me” is seldom sufficient.  Who will be in the meeting?  When do you want to hold it?  What will the meeting be about?

If you want your email to be sufficient for your subordinate to complete the orders, you’ll need to include all pertinent information.  Anticipating what kinds of things they’ll need to know to carry the task out will have to be part of your job.  Otherwise, they’ll just come back with an email asking for clarification, which really saves you no time in the end.

Additionally, make sure your instructions are clear.  Put it through an English software to ensure that your sentences are neither confusing nor do they contain incomplete thoughts.  Imagine yourself in your subordinate’s place.  Would you understand your email instructions based on what you have written so far?