Personal User Manual Tells Others how to Work With You

Maybe the most useful thing I have come across lately is My User Manual. I picked up the idea from a blog post by Leah Fessler. This is a great tool to elevate trust and safety level in any team.

In all simplicity, the idea is that everyone in the team writes a user manual of themselves, and then introduces the manual to the rest of the team. This way we get to learn some ways the others in the team function, and accelerate through maybe years of learning all these things through trial and error. The six sections in the user manual are:

  1. My style
  2. What I value
  3. What I don’t have patience for
  4. How to best communicate with me
  5. How to help me
  6. What people misunderstand about me

I have tried this exercise out few times already. The results and feedback has been extremely positive. It’s currently part of all my team kickoffs. With this exercise, people start to see each other as persons, which in turn is the most important thing for successful team to start to emerge. I don’t currently know anything more valuable than that.

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