Reading for Leading #20: Writing your own instructions manual

Writing your own instructions manual

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

“He’s really pushing my buttons” is a strange phrase that implies both that someone else is dictating our behaviour and that we have a clear set of visible controls that determine that behaviour. 

“Surprise! You’re in charge – but there are no labels and no instructions…” Image credit:

Imagine you were trying to write a short instructions manual to working with you – like one of the single page “quick start” guides that come with new electronics. Can you describe your own buttons? Are there any warnings that you’d include? Maybe: “I get withdrawn and disengaged when my contributions are overlooked” or “Danger: gets reactive when over-caffeinated!”. Is there anything in common between the situations in which you find yourself reacting in a certain way? Now see if you can similarly describe the buttons of any of your colleagues.

Do you think your buttons really are visible to your colleagues? Does writing this guide change the way you respond when one of the situations next occurs? 

One thought on “Reading for Leading #20: Writing your own instructions manual

  1. Pingback: 6 months of Reading for Leading! Top posts so far… – Social in silico

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