How to work with me

Give your team a good overview of who you are, how you do your best work, and how we can best work together.

When new execs start at my company, they fill out a “How to work with me” document. This isn’t unique to my company by any means, but it’s not anything I had seen prior to joining Spot as I never used it at either of my own companies. When used correctly, this document is a fantastic tool for growing teams and organizations. From my research, it looks like it’s been around for nearly a couple decades, but if you’re just now hearing about it for the first time, welcome to the club :)

Either way - at a high level, this document outlines who you are, where you live (i.e. what time zone you work in, which is especially useful if you work on a remote team), and typical working styles. You may also add some personalized content such as “here are some fun topics to bring up in our conversation”. The idea here is you can convey valuable information about yourself and your communication preferences when you start a new job or when a new person joins the team.

One thing to note: This document is not an excuse to brush off inappropriate behavior. As a manager, it’s still your responsibility to find a common language to speak with your team with the understanding that not everyone responds the same way. If someone finds your communication style abrasive, for example, saying in your doc “I prefer to be straight and to the point” should not be used as an excuse for your abrasiveness. If anything, this document can be used to highlight those communication differences to better understand what needs to change to work together more effectively.

So what exactly should you put in this document? At the end of the day it’s your document and your personal manual, so you choose. But at a bare minimum I would answer the following questions:

  • What hours do you typically work in a work week? Do you work standard 8-5 in EDT hours? Or do you often start early and work from 7-11, take a 3 hour break, then come back and work from 2-6?

  • Do you enjoy small talk, or do you prefer to get right to business?

  • What are your preferred communication preferences? Slack? Email? Phone? Text you if you really need something because you’ll probably not see the Slack message?

  • What’s your preferred way to receive feedback? Do you prefer getting feedback in a gentle manner or would you rather just hear it head-on? Do you accept compliments well, or would you rather have your compliments be externally focused vs. focused on you?

  • What else are you passionate about? What fun topics can we discuss together?

If you’ve written one of these documents, I’d love to hear about it!

Reply

or to participate.