A User Manual for Me

One of the things we discussed at our dxw retreat 2018 was that as we grow the size of the team, getting to know people becomes harder. The concept of ‘user manuals’ for team members was mentioned as a way of getting to know each other.

I’d written something similar a couple of years ago, following a suggestion from my colleague at FutureGov Nina Timmers. I’d also seen Cassie Robinson’s version, and some other similar takes.

We’re now assembling a nice collection of user manuals for the team at dxw. I love that we as a team are comfortable enough to share the kind of things that are going into them. I really enjoy the insight to be had from each one.

Things I’m good at

Listening. Interrogating problems. Simplifying things.

Things I might need help with

I really want to write with higher frequency and more quality.

Meetings that lose focus drive me nuts.

What I like help to look like

Any way it comes is always appreciated.

Three values I find important for myself and others

Integrity, kindness, lightness.

Things I want to learn

How to be the best and most supportive collaborator I can be.

How I respond when under stress or in crisis

I’ll probably go quiet. I might appear withdrawn.

How I can be misunderstood

I can be economical with words sometimes, and it may seem like I don’t want to talk much, or that I’m being intentionally abrupt. It’s not the case!

What it looks like when I disagree

I’ll become contemplative and appear quiet (I’ll be thinking hard about whether I actually disagree or not).

Conditions I like to work in

I like being around others, but occasionally need solitude — that might be a quiet space, or just being under my headphones (I’m totally happy being approached at any time, though).

I’m happy to hot desk, but please respect my personal space!

The times/hours I most like to work

I’m most productive first thing in the morning, and last thing in the evening.

If I’ve slept well and wake early, I like to shift my hours to start and end my day early.

I’ll pretty much always respond quickly to any contact at any time, even if it’s just to say that I’ll get back to you later.

The best ways to communicate with me

I like face-to-face talking.

I prefer Slack (or anything) over email.

I’m not a huge fan of talking on the phone, but I like video chats.

The ways I like to receive feedback

I like feedback little and often, and as specific as possible. Help me make my blind spot smaller!

Please don’t beat around the bush — I value directness, and have a pretty thick skin.

Things I need

Time and space to just think, occasionally.

Purpose; I like to feel as though I’m a part of something bigger than just myself.

Humour. Serious work can still be done with a light heart.

Things I love

Helping and coaching people.

Simplicity in everything.

Team spirit and togetherness.

Learning new things.