Sharing user manuals – a team building activity

At a recent team offsite, we tested a new activity – sharing user manuals. Every member of the team created a 1-2 page user manual with some or all of the following sections (these were just a guideline)-

  1. My working style
  2. What I value
  3. What I don’t have patience for
  4. How to best communicate with me
  5. What I am trying to improve / how to help me
  6. What people misunderstand about me
  7. Anything else that’s important to know about me

We then spent time going through each person’s user manual, listening to the “why” behind some of their notes, and sharing our observations.

I came away with a few reflections. First, I came away feeling inspired to refresh my own user manual after what I’d heard. Everyone had their unique spin and some notes were very useful. For example, I hadn’t shared “what people misunderstand about me” and felt that was particularly useful.

Second, I came away with a lot of appreciation for everyone’s self awareness and the team’s shared values. It helped us all understand each other and that understanding is key to trust.

This activity is a keeper.

PS: The article we used as inspiration was an article on user manuals from Quartz.