Strength in vulnerability – using personal user manuals to work well with others

How and why to build a personal user manual

By sharing your expectations, preferences, and areas for development with your team, you massively accelerate your ability to work with other people. It is a marauder’s map for your personality. And by being honest and really sharing, you open yourself up to grow.

  • How you like to be communicated with — to help other help minimize your misunderstanding them
  • Things that make you happy at work
  • Pet peeves: things others do that drive you bonkers
  • Your self-perceived flaws — so others know you’re introspective & working on it
  • A couple things you’d like others to help you get better at

Oh h*ck here’s mine 🙈

I can’t very well quote Brené Brown in this blogpost and then hold back, can I? Here’s my personal user manual.

  1. Once I’ve gotten to know someone in person, I’m happy to communicate by text for most things. I use emojis to convey tone and am also fine with Slack. I don’t love email and am less responsive there than on text. That said, I value in person time and will fly long distances for it, especially to collaborate with people.
  2. I love and value feedback. I want to learn and improve myself in all realms of my life. I try to always have a growth mindset and value that in others. I have a therapist, an executive coach, a weightlifting coach, and I read a lot of psychology and self-improvement books/articles. I would love your cool productivity tip, book recommendation, or candid feedback.
  3. I trust people by default and assume the best intentions. I’m trying to be less trusting and more circumspect given that technology (and leadership in most industries) is heavily populated by sociopaths.
  4. I’m a very honest person — sometimes too honest. Friends and coworkers can rely on me to be transparent, even when it may disadvantage me. I have thought a lot about whether to change this and have decided not to. Instead I focus on being kind and have learned the difference between my truth and the truth.
  5. I strongly dislike dishonesty and hidden agendas. Once I learn that that is a core mode for how someone operates, I will not trust them again.
  6. I’m quick to make decisions — sometimes too quick. This is something I continue to work on. I have strong opinions and (from years of building 0-to-1 software) am very oriented to make a decision and move on. I’m improving here but would love feedback if you think I’m moving too quickly.
  7. There’s nothing that makes me happier at work than watching people I believe in surpass their own expectations.

Advisor & angel investor. Former VC at Lightspeed, former Head of Growth at Slack. Happy to help.

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