I took an online course on how to be a Complete Manager. One of the lessons I learned was to write an operating manual such that it is explicitly for others to learn about the best way to work with me. I create and use the operational manuals to accelerate relationship-building with my teammates. The real value of an operating manual is sharing it with each of my teammates through one-on-one conversation. This tool reinforces the resiliency of my relationships so that I can repair trust if a conflict arises.

Ways of working - Communication

Preference to receive feedback

  • Be honest and assume the best intentions.
  • No surprise. Communicate early and often so that the issues are visible. I could not fix it if I did not know it was an issue.
  • Be specific with examples instead of vague arguments. Be explicit if you got any assumptions about me.

Preference to share feedback

  • 1:1 private meeting instead of a group setting
  • Based on facts instead of subjective bias. Be rational instead of emotional in the discussion.
  • Be constructive with suggestions.

Forms of communication

  • Slack for internal team messages. Always respond as soon as possible. If I have a quick question, I will shoot a slack message.
  • Email for external clients. Google Meet for a more extended discussion. Appreciate to let me know about the notice period in advance to prepare.
  • In-person for social activities and team building. And I would not WhatsApp my team during non-office hours. Open to any social activities from running, bouldering or axe-throwing.

Ways of working - Time management

Time of day that I focus best independently: Morning. Focus best on independent work, such as programming software and writing documents. However, feel free to interrupt me for anything urgent.

The time of day that I collaborate best with others is the Afternoon: team meetings and casual catch-up for team building activities. Ping me anytime if you need help to solve a technical problem or just for a chat.

My approach to scheduling time on the calendar

  • Send an invite on Google Calendar. Please click accept or reject. Please propose a new time if you prefer to reschedule.
  • Reject the meeting invite if you can’t attend. Reject the invite in advance instead of doing it at the last minute. Reject the invite with a note on a brief reason.
  • I would be mostly on time for the meeting. If I were late, I would message you on slack.

Ways of working - Information

Preference to digest information

  • I prefer reading over listening. I can read much faster than I listen.
  • Asynchronously if you need a detailed answer and require analysis. Give me enough context and help me understand the background.
  • Synchronously if you need a quick answer with my best guess, it may not be the correct answer, so please double-check for an immediate response.

Things that make a meeting successful I prefer to limit to less than nine people in the group. It would be the maximum number of people for a meaningful conversation. Too many people would inhabit people to express. Keep it short within 1 hour. It is unnecessary to go through details on a status update—interactions over processes and tools. Longer meetings would be lost of focus with more distractions. Be open-minded and pivot when necessary, instead of being stubborn and not listening to others.

Ways of working - Getting it right

People get right about me:

  • I am an introvert. Networking events drain my energy levels quickly.
  • I am a keen learner with two master’s degrees (master’s in computer science and MBA) and many certificates in IT technologies. I read books and take online courses in my spare time.
  • I am more efficient at working in an office instead of working from home.

People underappreciate or underestimate me:

  • I can speak three languages, which can be useful for sales presentations in APAC.
  • My sense of humour. I am a quiet introvert, but I could crack a joke in public speaking. I like to keep the team happy and laugh together. I am good at self-deprecating.
  • My ambition. It is Asian wisdom to stay low profile and humble, but I am determined and competitive by heart. I work hard to achieve my goals.

Ways of working - Things I value most

Three essential things about me:

  • Continuous improvement. I am a quick learner and can pick up new knowledge within a relatively short amount of time. It is particularly important when working as an IT consultant in a face pace environment. Being competent is the foundation of a good manager. Grow opportunities are required to keep me excited. Challenge me to be a better person.
  • Servant leader. I put public interest before personal interest. I cannot succeed without team success. Being a manager is my responsibility to serve the team instead of taking advantage for individual benefit. Happy to contribute and do hands-on tasks if required. Not to delegate because of being lazy.
  • Agile mindset. Responding to change over following a plan. Flexible work arrangements as long as the project is delivered. Raise any issues as early as possible so that we can collaborate and find a solution. Feel comfortable making mistakes, and we can learn from our failures. Thrive in a dynamic work environment.

Ways of working - Relationship

At a relationship’s best,

  • Diverse skill sets with clear roles and responsibilities. Everyone is collaborating, and no free rider.
  • Democracy over dictatorship. Let everyone voice their opinions and give the freedom for people to collaborate independently. Use consensus to handle conflicts instead of forcing by authority.
  • Transparent about any issues or concerns. No office politics. No backstabbing. Build trust and harmony atmosphere. Be kind.

At a relationship’s most frustrating, show empathy. It’s not our intention to be stuck in this unfortunate situation. It is a virtuous cycle, and nobody wins from playing the blame game.

At a relationship’s most stressful, do not annoy me with high-frequency status updates when focused on work, such as programming. It creates more distractions and slows down the progress. Leave me alone to resolve it if it’s a blocker on a technical challenge.

Overall, my operating manual is a reflection and attempt to apply the learnings to my business. If you have anything you want to discuss with me, let me know, and I would be happy to work with you.