My personal leadership user manual

IMG_0953It is well covered territory that I am all about the idea of finding and leveraging your best self.  I believe it’s the trick to thriving personally and professionally.  So, when a work colleague suggested that I create a user manual about my leadership style, I had no choice but to make it so.  Special thanks to Abby for this format that I’ve plagiarized.

My style 

  • I am very direct, my default position is to address things head on.
  • I love to learn – I’m always looking to add new skills, ideas and insights.
  • I am extremely goal oriented – I love setting, tracking and achieving goals.
  • I have a strength in understanding and managing complexity, I love ideating and problem solving.
  • I look at everything with both a strategic (what) and execution-minded (how) lens.  If I’m not confident in the success of the strategy, I am likely to push back.
  • My second language is sarcasm and I’m a collector of cultural references.
  • I have a bias to action – I want to make a plan and get moving toward testing it out.
  • I don’t take myself too seriously and I try to challenge myself to have a learn-it-all mindset.
  • I’m comfortable with being wrong and I’m experienced at apologizing.

What I value 

  • I value hard work and effort.  That said, I value even more people who work both smart and hard, because I want to have an outsized impact, and to do that you need to work hard on important things.
  • I appreciate candor and decisiveness.  If we disagree let’s do that openly.  If I’m wrong, I prefer you let me know.  I am a strong opinions weakly held believer.
  • I love to laugh, and I admire people with a good sense of humor.
  • I require honesty and integrity.
  • I love using my gifts to help others.

What I don’t have patience for

  • I have low tolerance for laziness and I abhor entitled behavior (in myself and in others).
  • I find people who only see success as bringing someone else down fatiguing.  I want to spend my time with great minds not small ones.

How best to communicate with me 

  • I am working to develop the skill of small talk, it doesn’t come naturally.  If you want to connect, it’s most effective to talk about something meaty vs. something surface.
  • I appreciate being able to get mentally organized on a topic before having a discussion — sending me SMS or email on what you want to talk about vs. just hitting me cold is very helpful.  Otherwise you will get a familiar “can you remind me what the topic we are discussing” question which is awkward for us both.
  • I’m an audio learner so flow charts and graphics take time for me to decode – I prefer pre-reading information, asking basic questions asynchronously, so that when talking in person we can have a richer discussion.
  • I embrace clear is kind and I appreciate it when people are clear with me in return.

What people misunderstand about me

  • I struggle to remember names — a lot — I am more likely to remember every other thing you have told me than your name.  I actually have this issue with almost any proper noun.  I refer to this as how my brain indexes complex topic “metadata” vs. the data itself.  I’m delightful at bookclub –“John, is that the guy that was the mechanic or the one that was the waiter?” or recalling business partnership opportunities “that company in Asia with xyz product with the sales office in Florida“.
  • I have extreme sensitivity to high frequencies — specifically, I experience significant physical pain if I take a call on an iPhone without headphones.
  • I am an ambivert with significant energy swings.  Too much extroversion can fatigue me like an introvert.
  • I’m very curious and ask a lot of questions, this can be annoying for people who don’t enjoy the 3rd degree.

My Quirks and Interests

  • In addition to being bad at names, I also have a severe “sense of direction disability” – I recommend against letting me lead the way to any physical location.  I also struggle with other visual spacial topics including but not limited to, flow charts and complex graphs without associated language.
  • I love nerding out on random stuff, especially if I can learn something or share with others, something I’ve learned — this is why I’m a TED conference enthusiast.
  • I enjoy reading for pleasure – majority of the time my preferences are less literary and more “beach reads”.
  • I generate a lot of typos – feel free to point them out to me (in this blog or anywhere), in most cases, it’s not that I don’t know the rules of grammar, it’s just that my brain can either finish a thought, or write well – rarely both.  I exist to help grammar snobs practice empathy.
  • I love the concepts of life hacking – I hate inefficiencies and love deliberate practice.  I especially believe that we should each be purposeful about how and where we spend our time.

Other Stuff

Favorite Quotes

What else do you want to know?  How can we build a better relationship together?  Hit me up with your questions.

*Editors Note: I heard a great tip once that if you find someone hard to understand you should imagine who they were at five and you might find them more likable.  This is me at age 6 sporting the best of 1970s fashions.  You’re welcome.