Leadership · Work

3 Things I’ve Learned Sharing My User Manual This Summer

In my last post, I shared the idea of creating a personal user manual with your coworkers. Hitendra Wadwha introduced me to this idea at a recent workshop and since I came back and started sharing the idea with my coworkers, it has resonated more than anything I’ve shared over the last five years. And, I often find myself at workshops and share a lot.

The idea of sharing your quirks, beliefs, habits, areas of improvement, and preferred communication methods caught on so much that I then provided semi-weekly sessions throughout Round Rock ISD. From campuses at every level to departments at the administration office, I had the opportunity to share the idea that just being upfront with each other will allow us to give each other grace, get on with the work, and reduce anxiety.

Those experiences taught me a few things:

  1. Choose to be Open and Positive  – Share your struggles and be real. Authenticity is so rare. When I get up in front of a group of long-time colleagues – or strangers as was the case recently with the Texas School Public Relations Association – and tell them I struggle with building deep 1-1 connections, I can physically feel an emotional shift in their connection with me. And at that point I know I’ve captured the room. I know my message will stick. Be real and you will resonate. You are now a leader.
  2. It’s About Sharing – Many folks I’ve worked with have written their manual, but aren’t comfortable sharing it. If that’s you, take out whatever you are uncomfortable with and share the rest with your team. This process is useful as a diary entry, but the power comes in sharing it with those you spend your time with every day. Take baby steps in your vulnerability.
  3. Get Credit for Your Work – If we don’t let others know how we are trying to improve, they are not likely to notice. It is incredibly hard to change someone’s perception of us. But, it’s easier if we tell them how we are trying to improve. So, I’m sharing with my team that I am working this year to be better prepared for my 1-1 meetings. I want to make sure I have done my homework and am crafting more effective listening skills. If my team did not know I had that focus this year then they may start as wondering why I was all of a sudden asking more pointed questions or trying to help them dig deeper on their own goals. And at the same time, selfishly I want them to notice when I get better. Nothing wrong with a pat on the back.

I’m excited to see the idea catching on as I truly believe that reducing our anxiety at work will have a direct effect on improving instruction in classrooms throughout Round Rock ISD. Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions.

Thanks for the time.

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