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?