Jobs and the Future of Work

How to succeed at work? Try writing a ‘personal user guide’

Team planning meeting.

Set yourself up for success. Image: Unsplash/Jason Goodman

Banks Benitez
CEO, Uncharted
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Jobs and the Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

  • A ‘personal user guide’ is a document that outlines a person's working style.
  • It can cover areas including working hours, personality quirks and preferred methods of communication.
  • The guide is intended to offer practical information to colleagues, helping boost the chances of effective collaboration and performance.

We often start projects and collaborations without understanding of our colleagues’ practices, expectations, habits, and routines. Yet, having a clear understanding of others can build healthy working relationships, increase the chances of effective collaboration, and decrease misunderstandings and performance issues in the future.

As a founder and leader, the personal user guide is one of my most used tools to build awareness of others while sharing and adjusting habits and expectations.

How to write a personal user guide

A personal user guide is a document that outlines a person’s working style:

  • Your preferred method of communication for different types of work
  • The way you best receive feedback (and approaches to feedback that you dislike)
  • How people can earn your trust
  • Your working hours and workweek cadences
  • Any working quirks or personality dimensions that might show up
  • Areas of weakness or current growth opportunities
  • Meetings and coordination norms
  • How you want to be seen and acknowledged

I decided to build my own version for my fast-growing company, and soon everyone at our organization had developed their personal user guide. For new hires, one of their first tasks is to complete their guide and share it with their managers and peers. This acted as a conversation-starter for direct reports and their managers, and it provided a reference point to improve partnerships and outcomes at all levels.

Set yourself up for success

Unlike some personality tests that tend to be more interesting than useful and directly applicable, the personal user guide is practical and focuses on the specific conditions a person needs to thrive at work.

If you’re interested in creating your own user guide, feel free to make a copy of mine and make it your own. Then, after you’ve deleted, added, and reworked the document, share it with those you work closely with, internally or externally. Use the personal user guide to empower yourself and help others work with you better.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Jobs and the Future of WorkEmerging Technologies
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

What can employers do to combat STEM talent shortages?

Timo Lehne

May 21, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum