Don't confuse your workers with ambiguous orders

07/18/2010 | New York Times (tiered subscription model), The

Business leaders need to make it completely clear to their workers whether they're issuing direct orders or simply riffing and brainstorming, says Dawn Lepore, CEO of Drugstore.com. Lepore's trick is to tell her staff whether something she says is a "light bulb" or a "gun" -- the former is simply an idea to consider, but the latter needs to be acted upon. "When you're leading a large organization, people are not as comfortable with ambiguity. ... I had to get better at communicating what I was thinking," Lepore says.

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New York Times (tiered subscription model), The