Operating instructions come with every electronic item we buy. Even the simple stuff. The manual for an iron shows how to plug it into the wall. Flight attendants still show us how to insert the strap into the seatbelt clip. (Why do they still demonstrate that??)
We might not read the instructions but we expect to receive them. For everything. Those manuals are like tiny insurance policies: “I can read it when it breaks.”
You know where this is going. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Managers should come with a set of instructions. Seriously. I recommend that you personalize the sample below and distribute it freely. Make it short. One page. Very user friendly.
USER’S MANUAL FOR (your name here). When you know how I operate – or, even better, how to operate me – I will function at my optimal level of performance & communication. Utilize me correctly and I can function at maximum wattage.
ON/Off SWITCH. When I’m under pressure, I get really focused. Intense. No jokes. I ask a lot questions and I expect answers. I will continue to ask “why.”
TIMING. Don’t bring important issues to my attention in the hall. Or casually. I like knowing what to expect, and I expect you to be prepared with facts.
COMMUNICATION. I respect people who can explain their point of view and back up their decisions with information and data. Stand up for yourself.
MALFUNCTIONS. I am direct. I move fast. When I ask a question, answer it; “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” always works. I won’t tolerate blaming or lying. If you did it, admit it.
FEEDBACK. I don’t give enough. You’re doing fine unless you hear differently. Feel free to ask, but expect the whole truth.
BATTERY LIFE. I expect everyone to do whatever it takes to deliver results. Every employee willing to do every job. And do your own, to the best of your ability.
EXTENDED BATTERY LIFE. I don’t delegate enough. Lighten my load, do a good job and you will always have a place on my team.