• Michelle Minnikin

How cool would it be if employees came with an instruction manual?


I know… sounds a little ‘out there’, but bear with me…


Picture a scenario where as a manager, you were able to know how to get the best out of each one of your team members. You know what motivates them, how they work best, what tasks they will smash (and those that they are going to struggle with), how they like to receive instructions, to be communicated with, how much feedback, praise etc they need.


Your job would be massively easier if you didn’t have to make assumptions and have to use a bit of trial and error. If you knew exactly what works for each member of your team, you could sit with your feet up all day, right?


It’s not as bonkers as it sounds. It’s just not something that happens in organisations. It typically goes like this… a new employee starts, has to figure out what the formal and informal ‘rules’ are, how things are done, how people like to be treated, how the manager works and spends the first 3 months unproductively trying to figure all this out for themselves, without any real conversations.


As new employees we adapt and try to fit in, to assimilate. Which might mean that the organisation doesn’t get the brilliance that we have and the value we can offer. From an organisational perspective, we hire awesome people and then do not get the best out of them.


So, here's the idea…


Get everyone in a room (or on a call) and go through these questions and get them to note down the answers to these questions:

  1. My top 3 strengths are…

  2. I love doing…

  3. I get excited about…

  4. I sometimes need support with...

  5. My ideal work environment is…

  6. The time of day I have the most energy is…

  7. When I have to really concentrate I need…

  8. When I get assigned tasks I need…

  9. My colleagues will get the best out of me by…

  10. I learn best when...

  11. I like to receive feedback…

  12. Things that upset me...


Then get everyone to create their own one-page manual. Including you as the manager, as you need to model the behaviour that you want to see with others, and openness with being comfortable sharing your needs.


These one-pagers can be shared with colleagues and can be helped to make decisions to get the best out of everyone! You’ll find it easier to assign tasks, communication will be better, jobs and tasks can be tweaked to people’s strengths and preferences. Seems like work would just be easier. You could even pop them all together in a PDF that can be sent to new colleagues joining the team and invite them to share theirs too before joining.


Give it a try. What have you got to lose? I’d love to hear how you get on.

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