Well, wouldn’t you know, it’s that time of year again: back to school time! The time I could not wait to get away from growing up, and have somehow found myself at again. This time, however, pursing a Masters of Business Administration at Bloomsburg University. I guess God has a way of placing His children exactly where we need to be, but I can honestly attest to the fact that I have no idea why He has brought me back to where it all started: my little hometown in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, I will trust in His providence.
As with all new beginnings, usually the ones that shake us up and place us out of our comfort zones, comes new insight into the way we think and deal with change. One way in which I gained insight this past week was by completing my first Principled Leadership, Ethics, and Professional Development assignment of the semester: a “user manual” that reveals my style of leadership, what I value, what I have patience for, how to communicate with me, how to help me, and misconceptions about me, to my fellow classmates.
For purposes of this article, I renamed “user manual” to “interpersonal instruction manual,” because it eliminates the negative connotations associated with the word “user”. “Users” have no business writing or reading each others’ manuals, as they are only concerned with his or her own personal gain. Conversely, “interpersonal instruction,” negates that idea; it relates to communication and relationships between others… ultimately those who know and care to learn more about you. Unlike a user manual, an interpersonal instruction manual is a means of love, that can build better, more conscientious, and more lasting relationships.
My assignment is reproduced below. Try making an interpersonal instruction manual and share it with someone you love!
1. My style when working with others (as a leader and/or team member)…
- I believe in “work before play.” While I enjoy working with fun-loving
people, I place high regard for accomplishing tasks before relaxing and conversing.
- I appreciate time when it comes to making decisions. I don’t like feeling rushed or obligated into doing something I don’t have time to analyze first.
- I like to capitalize on others’ strengths by delegating tasks to those that have the most knowledge in a specific area.
- I place a high regard on making sure those I am surrounded by feel appreciated for, and motivated about, the work they do.
2. What I value…
- I value a healthy work-life balance. I work best when I feel well rested and have something fun to look forward to at both home and work.
- I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. If you want something, go out and get it! If you feel a need to change, change! If you feel a certain way about someone, tell them! Do not hold back on opportunity because you may never get the chance to revisit it again.
- I value improvement in areas of weakness. I believe in frequent examination of one’s actions, motives, and conscience to help reveal these areas needing improvement.
- I appreciate humility and am not afraid to ask for help. I expect my team members to do the same.
3. What I don’t have patience for…
- I am turned off by vagueness. Withholding parts of the truth is essentially a lie, and I will not continue doing business with anyone if I feel this is happening.
- Interruption is rude. You will never see me interrupting others, as I value what is going through their minds. Please have the same respect for me.
- I don’t like gossip. Talking behind others’ backs is deceitful. If you have a problem with someone, try to resolve it privately with that person first.
- I get upset when my messages are ignored. If you don’t have time to talk about something, just acknowledge you saw my message, and answer it when you have time. Please don’t leave me hanging.
4. How to communicate with me…
- Use a calm tone. Tones of accusation or immediacy make me nervous.
- Check-in frequently. I like hearing what you’ve accomplished and share with you what I’ve done too.
- Send texts. My Apple Watch is my favorite accessory, so if you need an answer quickly, don’t be afraid to text. I promise I will answer that more quickly than an email or phone call.
- Be specific. If you’d like something done a certain way, please tell me. I will try to complete it that way, to the best of my ability.
5. How to help me…
- Be constructive, not destructive. Offer both compliments and recommendations for improvement, when deserved.
- Be honest about my performance. If I am not up to par on something, let me know so I can focus on that more.
- Become a friend. I feel much more comfortable working with someone I can call a friend than I do for someone who treats me like a number.
- If I don’t understand something, please take time to explain it to me. While I am driven to succeed, sometimes things take a bit of time to sink in. I may need some additional explanation to fully grasp the information at hand.
6. What people misunderstand about me…
- Despite being quiet at times, I am easy to talk to and appreciate when people take an interest in what I’ve been up to lately.
- I have a greater goal of serving God in every endeavor I take on. If something comes along that seems to disrupt my relationship with God, I cut it out of my life.
- Sometimes I like to be alone. Not because I don’t like the people I am with, but because I need time to recharge from social situations.
- When I smile, it is not because I am always happy with the way things are going. My smile encompasses my attempt to make the best of every situation and trust that better things are coming.