Thursday, October 14, 2010

A First Aid Kit for Managers

What would you stuff into a small backpack that would equip a manager to handle just about any management issue?

Below is my list, in no order of priority.

You can also use this list as part of an exercise for a management training program. Divide your participants into groups of 4-5 and have them prioritize the list (or make up your own), explaining their rationale. It’s kind of a variation of the old “Lost at Sea” teambuilding exercise. Be prepared to break up fights. (-:

1. A laminated card with the following contact information:
- Your HR representative
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) hotline
- At least one experienced and helpful peer
- Your manager
- Your administrative assistance
- Your IT support person or help desk
- Security (or local emergence number)
- Your Mom

2. A few of your favorite leadership & management books.
- Art Petty’s Practical Lessons in Leadership
- Scott Eblin’s The Next Level
- John Baldoni’s Lead by Example
- Wally Bock’s Working Supervisor’s Support Kit
- Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
- Frances Hesselbein’s Hesselbein on Leadership

3. A box of Kleenex (for the regular doses of employee drama and tears).

4. A day planner or some other way to organize your time and to-do list.

5. A good smart phone, with all the bells and whistles.

6. A list of favorite coaching questions.

7. A dozen bottles of 5 hour energy drinks.

8. Hearing aids (to be a better listener).

9. Binoculars (for vision).

10. A conflict management box of band-aids.

11. Delegation ointment (to spread it around your team).

12. A file for each employee. Include all HR paperwork, performance notes, IDPs, 1on1 notes, and personal information (family member names, hobbies, motivators, etc…).

13. How to give and receive feedback job aid.

14. An Individual Development Plan (IDP).

The following items from the Wizard of OZ:

15. A heart;

16. A brain;

17. Courage.

18. A performance management/counseling job aid.

19. Your operating budget, Excel software, and/or a calculator.

20. A picture of your loved ones and favorite place to get away from it all (to keep it all in perspective).

How about you? What would you add to the backpack?


Anna Smith said...

Three little ducks and instructions on how to put them back in a row.

Unknown said...

Although some of this is in humor there is some truth to the objects in the backpack. First of all there should be something about a union rep since there are so many unions out there, although I suppose this could fall under the HR representitive.
As for me I believe in seriousness that perhaps at the least each employee should have a laminated card or on the backside of their ID or badge a list of contacts and important websites and other contacts that they may need throughout their career. As an employee of a huge corporation this information has alluded me at times and I have had to search hard and long to find it at times so from personal experience it would help.

Dan McCarthy said...

Anna -
Very nice. (-:

Alexander -
OK, there's room for those. Thanks.

Patrick said...

Nice post.
I learn a lot.
Thanks! Dan!

Dan McCarthy said...

Patrick -
Thanks, glad you liked it.

Dan Zaccagnino said...

I would add a postcard for each employee that list their weaknesses and strengths. You can use this for leverage in a tight spot to motivate or manipulate an employee at any given time. Also, I would add beef jerky (men) and chocolate bars (women). Finally, I would add the bible; you might need to reference a miracle or something to install faith (in your employee's) and to incorporate belief in your company’s system.

Mighty said...

Wow. Nice list Dan! :D In addition to what you've listed, I would bring with me a map or a GPS for discovering and navigating through the right directions. :)

Unknown said...

Dan, I tried to post once but it said there was an error, so here it goes again. Recently, for class we had to watch the movie "Up in the Air." I thought about this when I read your blog. It reminded me so much of the scene where George Clooney's character gives a speech about packing everything you have in your life into a backpack. You are asking us here to only pack what management would need. Although, I feel like both bags would be heavy. I think the one thing that was left out was a sense of humor. Humor and laughter will get you through a lot of situations in life and at work. Thanks for the post!

Dan McCarthy said...

Dan -
OK, I think we could squeeze those in. Thanks.

Mighty -
Thanks. Right, take the Nuvi!

Amber -
Good idea - how about a pair of glasses with the fake nose?

Carla said...

Great post! Perhaps you can think about adding a flashlight so that you can lead the group when times get dark. And a box of granola bars, for when times get too busy and it’s difficult to stop for a bite to eat.
Thanks for the wonderful post.

Dan McCarthy said...

What, I forgot food?! Thanks for the additions.

Gina said...

A big bucket full of integrity mixed with a whole lot of honesty. We all want a manager that will do the right thing and not be swayed in another direction. We also want to be told the truth- no matter how bad. Don't hold back.

Great Post!

Dan McCarthy said...

Gina -
How about a jar instead of a bucket? don't want to get Carla's granolas soggy. I like the adds - thanks.

nayan said...

what a wonderful idea.
Your list of favourite books has got added to my 'read' list.
I would add 'my goal form'.


Dan McCarthy said...

Nayan -
Good add. I carry mine around too.

Jose - Employee evaluation said...

I would add a list of people (outside the company where I work) which I can get help and advices for different problems (not necessarily friends or relatives).

Dan McCarthy said...

Jose -
Sure, that's always a good thing to have handy. Thanks.

First aid kits said...

Looking good the first aid kit for managers and useful for us.

Anonymous said...

Love the exercise, I am a trainer and will use this in my upcoming leadership workshop :-)
Thanks, Dan