Most employers or teachers,will tell you to follow the instructions to a tee, or if you have some latitude do insert your own personality. From there it is pretty obvious of how the task at hand needs to be done. The ones who do not follow the instructions are usually the ones that have the biggest struggles.
I think instructions are the best course of action when you want to get something done right. individualism, has its place and time,but it really depends on the scope of what you are talking about. If your going to build a car, you can't put the engine on the roof.
I think that people should follow instructions, so that they do their tasks right, and in a way that is already been proven to work good and get the job done in an efficient manner. Most of the time, the people doing it before you have already tried every method.
Don't follow the instructions and everything goes wrong you may be out of a job. Don't follow the instructions and the end result is everything goes way better than your boss ever thought it could go and your boss may thank you. Though you may still get fired if he's a jerk or if he's afraid of you upstaging him.
It takes some thought though. Don't just always go with your own idea. Be sure it will work and that your boss and coworkers will be impressed. If at all possible notice ambiguity in the instructions that may help explain your decision.
My answer is really in the middle but I put it in "No" since those who rise to the top are always those who show some innovation.
People should not always follow instructions. They should stop from time to time and perform their duties with individualism. Just like a Graphic Designer or Musician, they will stop from time to time and perform their job with individualism and a creative personality that should exist in every person. Individualism is what brings energy and joy in many workplaces.
Yes, guidelines and directions are important to follow at first to get the general idea of something. But, after you learned, it is important to find better or more efficient ways of doing this. Very important actually. This is how jobs get done better and more quickly. By the book is always very rigid.