We are all different …. we work differently, respond in different ways, have different goals, you could say the way we operate is unique. This is a good thing, however, it can make it difficult to know how to interact with each other!

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea of a “user manual” or even if it was a single occurrence or from a number of sources, I do know that a couple of my previous managers have used variations to understand motivation and communication styles. The idea of a “user manual”, at least in my head, is to share things about myself including how to interact with me to get the best out of me.

Personally I have had three different iterations, the first was to allow my manager to better understand what integrations get the most out of me (communication styles, what makes me grumpy, what motivates me, what a good day looks like etc.). The second iteration was a version I shared with the team so that they knew what to expect from me as a manager, my expectations as well as a variation on the first iterations points.

The third, and current, was to help people get to know more about me as a person. I updated it as I changed companies and shared it with anyone/everyone who was interested. The idea was to introduce myself to people as I joined a new company and how I can/could connect to the rest of the team(s)/organisation.

In an ideal situation many of the things I shared would be part of the small interactions you have with people over lunch, coffee or just being sat near to them. However only getting three weeks in the office before the Coronavirus pandemic hit made this a challenge. I found that while I could schedule a number or virtual coffees the impact was not quite the same, as a result I put together the following to help people get to know me and also how they could get the best out of me …

The feedback from everyone that read my user manual has been hugely positive , the major question is while it has helped me introduce myself to the team, will people make use of its content in the future to make it easier for people to get the best out of me (I have also been finding pockets of people, including some senioer leadership have similar documents)? The second question is if anyone else will create one for themselves?

I would also be interested to hear people’s thoughts on this and what they think about the idea, including additions they would like to see?