By Michael Holland     

I needed to re-set my clock in my not-so-new car and had forgotten which buttons to push in sequence to get the clock flashing and ready for change.  Rumbling through my glove box I pulled out the thick, black canvass bag which contained the owner’s manual.  Well, actually it contained one large manual and 5 smaller ones and a long ago expired tire warranty.  I quickly found the “Get Started” small manual which gave me all those easy graphics and instructions for running the car stereo and clock.  In a matter of seconds I had the simple instructions I needed to get the clock corrected.

Wouldn’t it be great if your boss came with an owner’s manual?  A simple one or two page summary of what makes him tick as a leader and person. How about your employees, would they appreciate the same type of information about you as their fearless leader?

Here’s what should be included in your Leadership Owner’s Manual:

  • My Style – A summary of your Everything DiSC Style and/or other personality/preferred communications style assessment.  A little graphic reminder and short paragraph to lay the ground work for your approach to the environment and those with whom you work.
  • My Daily/Weekly Cadence – The days of the week and the times of those days when you are most engaged and least engaged.  What’s the best time/day to bring you new ideas.  What’s the worst time/day to schedule a 2 hour detail heavy planning session?
  • What Motivates Me – A quick list of those behaviors and situations which really motivate you both as a person and as a leader.
  • What Stresses Me – A quick list of those behaviors and situations which are stressors for you both as a person and as a leader.
  • How I Typically React to Chaos – A sentence or two describing how you have reacted in stressful situations in the past and therefore what others might expect from you in chaos.
  • What’s Important to Me Outside of Work – A summary of the people and activities that complete the picture of your world.
  • My Vision for this Season of Leadership – A short paragraph revealing your vision for the current season of leadership in which you have been placed.  This summary could include the behaviors you strive to reveal in your leadership walk each day.  Or it could list the areas of your leadership behavior you’re working on developing.   

Create your own Leadership Owner’s Manual


As you move through your career update your owner’s manual to reflect changes in your approach to leadership and your season of leadership.  Invest time with your employees to help them know how best to work with you so that you create the best possible path to full engagement.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Of the areas listed to include on the leadership owner’s manual, which area would you most like to know about your boss?
  • As you create your leadership owner’s manual reflect on how your leadership has changed or may change as you move through seasons of life.  Invite a peer to do the same and then spend time together sharing your reflections.
  • Ever so politely, ask your boss to complete her version of the leadership owner’s manual.