Joan Underwood, Executive Coach, Master Trainer, HR Professional and owner of the boutique consulting firm, Underwood Talent Development Services, has gifted the management world an invaluable resource. Her book, Managers’ First Aid Kit takes the reader on an introspective journey, examining the management of self, others, systems and processes.
The book is a practical guide for managers and those on the path to being elevated to leadership positions. Many of the lessons, however, are applicable to everyday life which, if applied on a daily basis, will further enhance leadership skills when used in an office setting. The importance of communicating; are you assertive, aggressive or submissive; do you react or respond; how do you view change, and does a trust deficit exist? In Chapter 1 of the book, Joan says, “self-awareness is a precursor to wisdom and to self-regulation.”
‘Personal Reflection’ and ‘Application Exercise’ activities are included, thoughtfully inserted to reinforce salient points of what was previously expressed in the chapter. With the opportunity to put some of those theories into practice, even before it needs to be executed in a formal setting, the author skillfully makes the reader question how much of what was just read has actually being absorbed. A chapter re-read may be needed.
Managers’ First Aid Kit’s conversational tone makes it a comfortable read, with easy-to-understand concepts. Within the first few pages, you will quickly realize that the author’s knowledge, drawn from years of experience in multiple roles held over the years, will be invaluable. Readers’ confidence level will be boosted as many “Aha” moments unfold, and they will inevitably take comfort knowing they have that book to guide them along, its depth validated by career-based examples and anecdotes.
Managers’ First Aid Kit is the ultimate tool for self-development that every aspiring or current manager should have within their possession. Joan has provided something that will “reduce the likelihood of them falling prey to the most common pitfalls.”
Joan works with high performers tagged for leadership roles, and those already in leadership roles who may need improvement so they can maximize their potential. She is also a change practitioner.