My operating manual as a manager
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.
Originally published at https://victorleungtw.com on May 21, 2022.