Do You Have a Personal User’s Guide?

Guest Article By: Karl Bimshas

If you did not come with a user’s guide, write one.

You might think working with you is a dream. You are in your head all day, so, you know your intentions and beliefs better than anyone else, and I am sure they are all sound and reasonable. The problem is; no one else is in there with you. Even your closest allies, those who know you inside and out, are sometimes sideswiped by your actions.


Because you are not nearly as clear as you think you are. You did not come with a user’s guide, and you are kind of hard to figure out.

What if you changed that? What if you sat down individually with the people who are important to you and you gave them a cheat sheet with insight into your work style?

Consider creating a one-page user’s guide that would give the people who work with you a fighting chance of getting it right.

It could include things like; what you value, your self-acknowledged strengths and weaknesses, and if you are brave, your idiosyncrasies. Maybe add how you prefer to make decisions, or how people should fess up to you if they make a mistake.

Documenting your expectations takes away ambiguity and whim; two pieces of baggage leaders should travel without. If you are artistically inclined, make it an infographic, or use pictures only, like Ikea, to convey universal principles.

Highlight topics that give the people you work with insight into you. You could provide a guiding quote that is meaningful to you, but avoid testimonials or significant achievements. It is not a resume or a brag sheet. It is a single page of instructions and clues to help ensure better results.

Truthfully, it is less about the guide and more about the conversations you have around the guide. However, build a guide regardless. It will improve your self-awareness and raise the caliber of conversation you have with others.


Karl Bimshas is the guy who makes sure your direct reports never have to work for a lousy leader. He’s the author of “How to Stay When You Want to Quit; Strategies to get over yourself“.