Do you have a User Manual of yourself for others to learn about how to deal with you?
This is an interesting idea I read about in an interview with Ivar Kroghrud, lead strategist of QuestBack, by Adam Bryant for his upcoming book Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation.
The basic idea of the User Manual is simple: shorten that inevitable learning curve of building work relationships, and let people know right up front what you’re like as a leader.
Below is a one-page cheat sheet of what a User Manual might look like:
I don’t have a User Manual per se, but do create the effect of it in a different way…
A few years ago, I adopted a tactic where in the first team meeting I have for a project I would describe to people the important things they should know about me. I will raise my hand and say something along these lines:
Hi everyone, just want to say that I’m an asshole. Not an evil doer, but a do-gooder. I’m impatient, but it has nothing to do with people; just the overall system of “how things are done”. Therefore, I like speed and focus. Also, I have a “Hero” side to me that sometimes rubs people the wrong way because am always looking to go above and beyond the call of duty to surprise and delight. Consistent excellence is the goal!
I enjoy coaching and developing others, but I don’t babysit. I always tell the truth, and it may come across as criticism. It’s not. It’s just me wanting to get stuff done in the most epically possible way, with no BS, while also challenging others to look inside themselves and break out of their comfort zone.
And although I focus like a laser beam when getting work done, I’m still open to ideas that might change the approach. I dislike forgetfulness, simplistic thinking and being unprepared. It shows me that you don’t care about yourself, much less about others…
Why did I start doing this?
I consider myself quick-minded in figuring things out, including people, and because I’m impatient about the process of getting to know others and viceversa; I understood that most people are not like this. So, I came to the conclusion that I had to connect the dots for people. These dots included my own quirks!
This tactic works in developing culture because it accelerates the process of getting to know each other by establishing transparency and honesty. In essence, by expressing myself at the beginning, I’ve set the tone. As a result, although not everyone reacts the same way, most people feel relieved when I tell them about my pet peeves. Now they can feel good about putting themselves out there!
So, if you are curious about working with me in the future, now you know what to expect 🙂
Do you use a similar method? How do you develop culture? What’s your leadership style like?