My Operating Manual as a Manager

May 22, 2022

I recently completed an online course on becoming a Complete Manager. One valuable lesson was the importance of creating an operating manual explicitly designed to help others understand the best ways to work with me. The manual serves to accelerate relationship-building with my teammates. I share it during one-on-one conversations, reinforcing the resiliency of my relationships and enabling quicker trust repair in the event of conflicts.

Ways of Working - Communication

2022 05 22

Preferences for Receiving Feedback

  • Be honest and assume positive intent.
  • No surprises. Communicate issues early and often; I can't fix what I don't know.
  • Be specific and use examples rather than vague arguments. Make any assumptions about me explicit.

Preferences for Giving Feedback

  • Opt for 1:1 private meetings over group settings.
  • Base discussions on facts rather than subjective biases. Be rational, not emotional.
  • Provide constructive suggestions.

Forms of Communication

  • Use Slack for internal team messages and respond as promptly as possible. Quick questions will come via Slack.
  • Utilize email for external clients and Google Meet for extended discussions. Please provide advance notice so I can prepare.
  • Reserve in-person interactions for social activities and team building. I won't contact my team via WhatsApp during non-office hours.

Ways of Working - Time Management

  • My peak focus time for independent work like software development or document writing is in the morning. Feel free to interrupt for urgent matters.
  • I collaborate best in the afternoons during team meetings or casual catch-ups for team-building activities.

Calendar Scheduling

  • Send Google Calendar invites and either accept or reject them. If the timing isn't ideal, propose a new time.
  • If you can't attend, decline the invite in advance and offer a brief explanation.
  • I generally arrive on time for meetings. If I anticipate being late, I'll inform you via Slack.

Ways of Working - Information

Preference for Digesting Information

  • I prefer reading to listening, as it allows me to process information more quickly.
  • For detailed answers requiring analysis, communicate asynchronously. For quick guesses, synchronous communication is fine.

Making Meetings Successful

  • Limit group size to fewer than nine people for meaningful conversation.
  • Keep meetings within an hour, focusing on interaction over process.
  • Be open-minded and ready to pivot when necessary.

Ways of Working - Getting it Right

What People Often Get Right About Me

  • I'm an introvert; networking events drain me quickly.
  • I'm a continuous learner with two master's degrees and various IT certifications.
  • I work more efficiently in an office than at home.

What People Often Underestimate About Me

  • My language skills are useful for APAC sales presentations.
  • Despite being introverted, I have a sense of humor and enjoy team camaraderie.
  • I am ambitious and goal-oriented, influenced by an Asian cultural emphasis on humility.

Ways of Working - What I Value Most

  • Continuous improvement: Competence is the foundation of good management.
  • Servant leadership: Team success over personal gains.
  • Agile mindset: Flexibility and adaptability in a dynamic work environment.

Ways of Working - Relationship

When Relationships are at Their Best

  • Diverse skills with clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Democratic decision-making and consensus-building.
  • Transparency, trust, and a harmonious atmosphere.

When Relationships are Frustrating or Stressful

  • Show empathy and avoid the blame game during frustrating times.
  • Don't distract with frequent status updates when I'm focused on challenging tasks.

In summary, this operating manual is an evolving document that reflects my management style and learning. If you'd like to discuss anything further, please feel free to reach out. I'm eager to collaborate with you.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn