My User Manual Resources

Personal User Manual FAQ

What is a Personal User Manual?

A Personal User Manual is a document that contains information about your unique personality and quirks. It is intended to be shared with your team so they know how you like to work, what makes you a little bit weird, and what you expect out of the people who report to you.

Where did the idea for Personal User Manuals come from?

My User Manual has its origins in the early 2000s, when our founder, Joel Trammell, noticed that some of his peculiarities as a leader were causing issues with his team. For example, Joel, then CEO of a fast-growing tech company, had a habit of being invited to meetings held by his executives and leaving halfway through. In Joel’s mind, he was leaving because the executive had the meeting handled and he had full faith in them. But to some executives, it seemed like Joel didn’t care or was even mad.

One day, Joel typed up a document called How to Be an Executive For Me that described fifteen elements of his personality and leadership style that he felt people who worked with him should know about. After he shared it, there were a lot fewer misunderstandings, and people started having really interesting conversations about their own personalities and workplace quirks.

Later, Joel discovered that some referred to this type of document as a “personal user manual,” especially teams in the tech sector. Since then, Personal User Manuals have become a foundational tool in CEO and leadership training programs developed and taught by Joel.

How should I use my Personal User Manual?

Once you’ve created your Personal User Manual, we recommend you share it with your whole team and encourage them to offer feedback and questions.

We recommend you revisit and update the self-authored section of your Personal User Manual every six months to include new insights you’ve developed in that time.

Why is DISC part of the Personal User Manual?

Writing a Personal User Manual can be as simple as typing up a document with your own thoughts and observations about yourself. However, My User Manual deepens this approach by including a leadership-focused version of a DISC assessment that tells you your primary personality style and estimates your position on several behavioral spectrums that affect how you work and lead. These combine with your self-authored observations to create a full Personal User Manual that includes insights not only for your team but for yourself as well. While many personality assessment can provide useful data, we’ve found that DISC works particularly well for understanding how people operate in a work environment.

Get a concrete, accurate description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.