Read Me

A user manual for Janosch Troehler. Version 1.0.

About this document

Starting to work with a new person is always a challenge. Having a basic understanding of how to work with them, know more about their characteristics and values would be helpful, right?

This is what this document is all about. It provides more information about how I work both as a professional and as a human being, my values and expectations towards others.

Hopefully, this user manual helps you understand me better and collaborate in a more impactful way. Inevitably, I will sometimes fail to live up to my own ideals. I will always try, and they are here so you can hold me accountable.

Also, this read me is a constant work in progress. I will update it regularly and would appreciate your feedback.

My premises

Five things I believe and assume are true and the foundation of our collaboration.

We trust each other: Trust is the key to every successful relationship. If we trust each other, our work will be meaningful.

You are excellent at what you do: There‘s a reason why you‘re doing your job, and I always assume it‘s because you‘re darn good at it.

We lift each other up: We bring different skills and experiences to the table. That‘s the reason why we work together and learn from each other during our collaboration.

You let me know if you need help: My default belief is that you’re always trying your best. And if there‘s anything that keeps you from doing so, you let me know—even it‘s something related to me. We work together to find a solution.

We have the same goal: We have a common understanding of which outcome we want to achieve. If you or I feel that our goals aren‘t aligned anymore, we talk straightforward.

My expectations when we work together

I aspire for us to collaborate for success. Here’s what I expect from you and what you can also expect from me in return:

  • We act with the best intentions for the team.
  • We take ownership and responsibility for what we do.
  • We strive for excellence in outcomes and collaboration.
  • We communicate openly and honestly.
  • We create a culture that encourages us to also be vulnerable.
  • We challenge and support each other.
  • We win or fail as a team.
  • We facilitate an environment where we can learn and grow.

What I value

Empathy: I believe that genuinely trying to understand another human’s perspective creates deeper connections and a more inviting environment. We should be empathetic towards another, to people inside and outside the organisation.

Reflection: Without reflection, there’s little opportunity to learn and grow. Reflecting on our individual actions and decisions shows us where we can improve.

Change: For many, change is a scary thing. However, I truly believe that change is always an opportunity—for discovering new perspectives, ideas, and something about ourselves.

How to efficiently work and communicate with me

Challenge me: Nobody’s perfect, and ideas only become stronger when many perspectives and opinions help them to shape. So let me know when you think I take a wrong turn or behave in a bad way. But also, I’d like to hear positive feedback when you feel it’s appropriate.

Mind the time: I’m happy to put in the extra effort. With that said, don’t reach out to me when you know I’m off or on holiday. Instead, use the scheduling functionality if you feel you need to get an email or Slack message off your chest. We all need time to unwind.

Choose the right tool: Could this meeting have been an email? Is a Miro board really the proper tool to solve this problem? The appropriate tool can make a huge difference.

Don’t forget joy: Yes, we’re here for work. But we should also enjoy the time together.

There’s life beyond work

We all have lives beyond the workplace: Friends, families, loved ones, hobbies, and other obligations. They, too, deserve our full attention and best versions.

Our professional life influences our private one and vice versa. If we struggle with something, we bring it home or the workplace. I advocate for transparent communication when it happens.

Also good to know

Despite having no problem standing in front of a crowd, talking, and presenting, I’m an introvert. As a result, it takes me quite some time to get comfortable in a team. I also can seem cold or apathetic at times; I’m working on that. Also, it’s easier for me to express myself in writing than in talking.

If you want to fast-track getting me out of my shell, be upfront, ask questions. It helps, and I’m happy to engage.

This document is inspired by Rouven Leuener, who first introduced me to the concept. And finally, David Bauer’s Read Me triggered me to set up a read me as well. I heavily draw from Bauer’s structure that you can use and adapt for your own purposes, as long as you share it under the same license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).