"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will amaze you with their ingenuity." –George Patton.
Robin bought Dr. John Gray’s book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to learn techniques for communicating better with the men and women on her product team. She learned that men are problem-solvers while women emote. She learned that men who are frustrated want to be left alone while frustrated women want to share with the others. (And of course, she realized that these are archetypes that don't necessarily fit everyone.)
Robin got some helpful tips for work and she shared the book with her mom. “Maybe you can use this to communicate with Dad better,” she said. A month later, her mom called and said, “I liked the book. It made some good points. But what I still don’t understand is this: how do I get your father to do what I want him to do when I want him to do it and how I want him to do it.”
Uh-oh. Mom doesn’t care about communicating; she cares about mandating. Dad isn’t a partner; he’s a factory worker.
Are you leading a team of partners or are you managing a project with factory workers. Most development projects require committed, informed, enthusiastic people. They don’t need to be told what to do and how to do it; they need to understand the problems to be solved. Give them a problem and get out of the way.