My User Manual

I’ve been working with a fabulous executive coach, Janeen Gingrich, for a few months, and one of the tasks she gave me was to write my leadership philosophy. I did all of the assignments that are supposed to prep you for writing such a manifesto, but I was really struggling with making the leap from the prep work to the actual philosophy.

Then, Founder and CEO of LEADx, Kevin Kruse, posted an article he wrote on Forbes about how to create a user’s manual–about yourself–for the people you lead. “The basic idea is that managers should create a short guide to their personality, work style and, yes, even quirks, so that their direct reports would know how to best work with them.”

I had to do it. Making such a guide for my team would be a productive and tangible way to communicate a little about myself and my leadership style–even if I couldn’t quite get to the philosophy part–and would help them work with me.

So, I hopped on over to Canva, selected a fun resume template, and made this: Nina Baltierra’s User Manual 3.3

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 11.19.17 AM

Things I stole from Kevin:

  • Model number: Kevin used his age as his model number, and I did the same. It creates a nice reminder to update it every year.
  • Personality frameworks: Kevin used Myers-Briggs, Insights Discovery, Big 5, and CliftonStrengths. I used Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, and my Hogwarts House. I think my strengths and weaknesses uncannily align with the strengths and weaknesses of the personality types in the frameworks I selected.
  • Warnings: This is a great way to present work-related pet-peeves. I’m still doing a lot of discovery in this area, so there’s plenty of room for updates as I get more and more feedback from my team.
  • Work cadence: I work hard to minimize work/life conflict, and letting everyone know when I’m at my best and when I’m truly not on the clock will help to achieve that balance.

Things I added myself:

  • Work manifesto: I wrote this work manifesto a few years ago, but recently unearthed it and really loved it. It captures my desire not to dwell on perfection, my goal to be a reliable colleague, that I value a sense of humor, and captures my catchphrase from my MPH program, “Don’t be a dick” (because basically all of the leadership case studies we read boiled down to that one lesson).
  • Leadership values: One of the exercises to prepare me to write my leadership philosophy involved values flashcards. You start with about 70 and narrow them down seven–without overthinking. These are the ones my gut selected.

I shared it with my team and got a positive response (Janeen loved it, too). I’m also happy to report that no one’s been late to my meetings since I sent it out.

What will your user manual include?

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One Response to My User Manual

  1. Pingback: My interview on the LEADx Podcast! | Nina Baltierra

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