by | Feb 25, 2021

When you’re communicating a major change, vision and values, or even topics as perennial as safety, you’ll be more successful when you provide manager tools to make that communication easier. (For reasons why, see this Best Practices paper.)

But when you’re developing a managers’ toolkit, what elements should you include? The list below starts with the basics and then moves on to some other manager tools you might consider, depending on the topic and work environment.


Start with the basic message and its support points. Keep it simple. A very brief document that includes a headline, subhead and bullet points might be all you need. If this is the only thing that managers read or that they communicate to their teams, what is the bare minimum that people need to know?


Now give managers the answers to the questions that employees are likely to ask. Don’t sidestep the difficult questions. Just because you don’t include it on the FAQ list doesn’t mean employees won’t ask it. Better to equip your managers with a well-crafted response. These FAQs help managers feel more confident — and thus more likely to actually do the communicating you’ve asked them to do.


One of our favorite manager tools is conversation cards that give managers a head start on leading a group discussion. These can be provided as downloadable PDFs that managers can print out. A useful format is to put the topic or a leading question in large type on the top half and the discussion guide on the bottom (upside down). When folded in half, the topic can face the group and the discussion guide face the manager. Sometimes we’ve also printed entire decks of conversation cards, like packs of playing cards. These can be great for weekly huddles in non-desk environments (with a year’s worth of weekly huddles in one 52-card deck.)


For office populations, managers might prefer a PowerPoint deck they can share in a staff meeting. Work to make the slides visually interesting with photos or graphics and a limited amount of copy. Speakers notes can help managers as they walk through the slides with their teams.


When creating manager toolkits, try to include manager tools that work for different personality types as well as different work environments. Some managers aren’t comfortable with public speaking or group discussions, so they’re more likely to share a video that can do the talking for them. These videos can be shown in team meetings or emailed to employees. Again, keep it brief. You’d rather they watch all of a short video than just part of a long one.


If you’re printing manager tools rather than providing digitally, you might consider window clings for restroom mirrors. Posters or flyers sometimes get lost in the clutter of break room walls or bulletin boards.


Providing manager tools that can be used to engage a group of employees together is a great way to create two-way conversation, rather than just having the one-way communication of managers talking to employees. These could be anything from role play to trivia games to brainstorming prompts.


Depending on the topic you’re communicating, and the existing recognition programs in your company, you might want to provide downloadable recognition certificates, lapel buttons, stickers or even embroidered badges as manager tools. These can be used to recognize team members who are helping to drive the change, modeling the desired behavior or embodying the values.

Especially in work environments that include employees without computers, manager tools will carry a heavy load for communicating throughout the organization. By equipping managers with the tools they need to make communicating easier, you’ll increase the likelihood of that communication actually happening. For more on helping managers communicate change, try this article on

Interested in developing better manager toolkits? Tribe can help.


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