FAQ. Isn’t telling someone how I want to work arrogant?
You’re not telling anyone to do anything, you’re sharing how you work best, so that others can understand how to better work with you.
Over the past years of talking about using a Manual of Me, a concern which comes up fairly regularly is whether sharing how you want to work could feel like you’re being selfish or demanding.
Here’s the truth — a Manual of Me isn’t telling anyone to do something, but simply communicating your preferences and needs. It’s up to the person reading the Manual how they want to take and use that information.
Telling someone that mornings are the best time for focus is not telling people to leave you alone, it’s letting others know that mornings are when you can get your focus work done.
Telling someone that you are a parent and have the school run at 3:15pm each day is not refusing to work at that time, it’s making people aware that you’d have to put things in place to cover the school run if it was necessary.
Telling someone that you prefer feedback in written format is not demanding that everyone writes formal prose on each and every comment they’d like to give you, it’s explaining that you process feedback better in structured written form.
Without that information, it’s almost impossible for them to know unless you’ve had that conversation, unless they’ve discovered it through working with you, unless something has come up that made it visible.
And as you’re in complete control over what information you choose to share and how you choose to express that information, you can be as strict and bullish or gentle and open as you like. In fact, being really clear where you’re sharing preferences (i.e. “I love working in a collaborative fashion”) and where you’re setting boundaries (i.e. “I am not available after 3pm due to family obligations”) is part of the power of writing in your own words, rather than a “fill out a form” or “what personality type are you?” type model.
What people chose to do with the information you’ve shared is up to them, but you’ve equipped them with a better opportunity to use it.
In a group or team setting — this is even more true. It’s often not possible to satisfy everyone’s needs and preferences when working together, but being aware of those needs is only possible if you’re exploring and communicating. A group is only able to design ways of working to solve the shared goals of the team if they’re aware of those preferences.
A Manual of Me starts a conversation, it is should never be the end of it.
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