Sunday, September 6, 2020

People and Processes

 According to author BrenĂ© Brown in her book Dare To Lead, a leader is "anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential."

This is one of my favourite definitions so far.  I love it.  It addresses the 2 key potentials you need to to grow: people and processes.  This blog post does not dig into her definition entirely, but it gave me the idea of this post.

If we don't develop the people and use their potential to help them grow to be a better employee, manager or leader, then we may fail at some point. Maybe not now, but at some point the business will move forward and your employees will fall behind.  In our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, we must develop everyone's potential to ensure we keep up the the ever changing world.  This year, with Covid19, is a great example of that.  I am sure studies will come later, but you have to wonder about those companies that develop their employees to those that don't.  Which group of employees or even businesses made it and which fell behind?  Every day there are stories of retail stores that were not ready, leaders who did not keep up, or even who did not have online shopping and a lot of them are now closed.  

Keep in mind that when I say we need to develop the people, this includes you as a leader.  You must constantly develop yourself and be one step ahead as a leader so your employees know what to expect.  How can you develop yourself?  There are so many favourite is to read leadership books and shared stories.  It helps me develop an understanding of what is new, developing, what works and what doesn't.  Of course there are many other ways: blogs, websites, social media, courses, seminars, etc.  Choose what you think will work as a main way - one that you will enjoy, and use the other resources when you are needing more insight, guidance or growth.

Now, let's now forget the other important key potential  - finding potential in processes and having the courage to develop those too.  Again, companies that fail to continuously improve or look for new more efficient ways of working, could fail.  Just as with not developing our employees, not developing our processes can vitally hurt companies.  Don't stay in the past, but work towards the future and ensure you address any key factors that our VUCA world may have on your business.  There are several ways of developing your processes too: reading, seminars, following your industries changes, visiting similar businesses to see what they are doing, website reviews of competitors, joining industry meetings, using standardized processes or even industry association social events (where safe to do so), etc.  

Your job as a leader it to ensure this development of your employees, processes and yourself takes place on a continual basis.  The world changes quickly these days, as leaders you must keep up.

Never forget about mental health either.  Ensure you keep yours on track by hiring a coach, meditation, mindfulness, or whatever method works best for you.  Watch employees for signs of mental distress too.  Mental health issues are not something to look at someone and think "Wow, Suzy just can't do this job. She is stress and so tired all the time.  All her work is late."  Instead recognize there is an issue and ask Suzy how things are going and if there is anything you can do to help with her workload, etc.  Do not ask her if she is mentally sick, has any medical issues, etc.  This may go against your countries discrimination laws.  If you have a Family Assistance Program, offer that as support too if you feel it is needed.  We do not know what our employees are going through, but we want to ensure they know we are there to support them through the tough times, and grow them to be the awesome employees or potential leaders we need.

Need a life or business coach for your own development?

Email me at or visit our website at

Stay safe and be well!  Remember - You've Got This!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ah Vacation Time!

 Picture this:

You are on your first summer vacation of the year.  You walk down to the dock and sit in the best spot.  Hear the waves gently hit the boat, feel the sun on your skin.  You open your laptop and you are:

1 - Checking and responding to work emails and ensuring all is going ok while you are away.

2 - Checking off an item of your bucket list and are beginning to write a novel.

3 - Googling what kind of butterfly gently landed on your foot.

If you are doing #2 or 3 good for you!  This is what using a laptop on vacation is all about.  It is you time, check an item off of your bucket list is not a time to check emails and respond so everyone knows you are available every minute of your vacation.  This is not relaxing and is not good for your mental wellbeing.

A leader will ensure that they are available for what I call "911 emergencies" only.  For me this is: someone quitting, a serious accident, or another very urgent matter that needs my immediate attention.  It does not include: approving late expense reports, signing off on anything that can wait until my return anyway, checking in to see how everyone is doing and what I can do for them today.  Leaders ensure that their team can handle what comes (except the emergencies) their way and they should be empowered by you to handle it.  We all need rest and relaxation to fully function upon our return from vacation - after all that is what vacation is for.

The first time you do this, you may come back to higher workloads as people are so used to you being available.  However, the more you do it the better it becomes and the less amount of emails or calls are waiting for you after your down time.  

Here is what you can do BEFORE going on vacation to ensure all is good to go:

a- Cancel or decline all meetings during your holiday so there is no expectation you will be there.

b - Use your out of office on your email and phone and do not include a direct way to get a hold of you.  I simply put down that I am away and please contact customer service for urgent matters to have them redirected.

c - Empower your employees to make decisions - even provide them with limits to approve while you are away or any other way to help you with relaxing.

d - Train then delegate any tasks you are able to so you have backup while you are gone.  A leader should not be the only person who knows how to complete a task.

e - Tell everyone, from employees, vendors, other sites to customers that you will be away at least 1-2 weeks before hand and then the day before.  This brings down the calls and emails substantially.

There are many more, but hopefully this short list will help you enjoy more of your next vacation.

Take care and as always, I am here to help!

Twin Life Coaching & Business Services

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Forced To Be a Manager

There are a lot of people who are forced into management roles.  This can happen when organizational changes happen, when someone leaves and is not replaced and may other scenarios.  What should you do when this happens and you are also expected to be a leader?

First and foremost, get some education on being a manager and a leader.  What do these mean in your company?   What is the difference?  There are a lot of definitions online, but it is important to also know what your company sees the definitions as, as well.  Then you can ensure you are moving in the direction needed for your new role. This education / training needs to come from your company.  Ask for help and tell them you want to ensure you are following the proper protocols of management and leading the culture that is expected.  Then, go home and educate yourself by reading, taking an online course or hiring a coach.  Some company cultures need help and this is a great opportunity for you to see what you can bring to the table.

Give yourself time to learn and grow.  If the expectation at your workplace is that you figure this out or leave, well what you do is up to you.  However, be sure to also forgive yourself for mistakes.  They will happen...we are all human after all.  It is about learning and personal / professional growth.  It is ongoing and never ends.

Pick and chose your battles. When you are first forced into management, it can be hard.  If you need help to deal with one aspect of management that you are not fully trained or aware on what to do, ask another manager for support, advise or help.  If this is not acceptable in your company, then reach out to family, friends or your coach to help you brainstorm what you can do now,, and what battles are best left until you are better able to manage and understand it.

Lastly for today, don't be afraid to talk to your manager, HR or another manager if you really are stuck on what to do, need more training, are not ready to be a manager, etc.  It can be scary if you are forced into it, so be sure this is what you want and if you do, get the help you need to become the best leader you can be.

That is all for today.

Tara Lehman

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Perfect Leader

The Perfect Leader does not exist.  Sorry to tell you this, but it is true.  

A good or great leader is one who continually improves themselves and their team through ongoing training, reading, coaching, etc.  But this not only done from the leader with the team, but the leader themselves.  Even I have a coach to help me through my leadership development.  This helps me keep on track in my growth, but also allows me to grow my team too as I can pass on valuable lessons.

Let's start with training.  We all have it and we may encourage our team to find training to help them in their current position, but when was the last time you took some training to help you?  The training does not necessarily have to be on leadership, it can be on just improving your skills or knowledge for your position.  For example, I manager the HR function and I ensure I attend training often via web training, in person training, and even with a legal seminar to keep updated on the latest court decisions.  This type of training helps me continue to keep on top of the ever changing HR world and legalities, as well as ensuring my employees are also kept updated and current.  I also enjoy learning about leadership through training as well, and as having been a trainer on various parts of leadership, it helps me develop this knowledge and my ability to pass it on.

Reading is another great way to learn and is very inexpensive (or free at a library).  You can read many books specifically about leadership, but there are many others out there about: personal development, organization, quality standards and so many more that can help with many facets of organizations and leadership.  My suggestion is to do a strengths and weaknesses chart on your own skills.  This helps you visually see where you believe you may need some growth.  Perhaps even share this with a trusted member of your household or work team to see if they agree or not - you may be surprised at what they tell you.  After you know what weakness is your biggest challenge, purchase and read the books that will help you grow there first.

Coaching is a great way to grow your skills.  Coaching does not always focus specifically on your leadership skills,  For example, a coach will help you assess your skills and grow the ones that are affecting your leadership.  What does this mean?  Maybe it means that it is not your business skills that are slowing down your leadership development, but it is the stress of having your parents to look after at home, financial issues, work/life balance and so many more.  Coaches help you see this and understand where you can improve for your overall wellbeing.  When you are doing well, you bring positivity to your team, you encourage them, lead them, work with them, to be your best team always.

So, the next time someone tells you that they are a perfect leader, you remember can they be perfect in an ever changing world, with new struggles for you and your team (think Covid19)?  You can be a great leader though!  Keep moving forward and if you fall down, pick yourself back up and try, try again!

Take care everyone and stay safe!

Tara Lehman

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Take Your Vacation

Many managers do not take all their allotted vacation time. Why not?  You are entitled to your down time too.

For me, I have always taken my vacation each year.  It is my important time to just relax and not think about work or the stressors that many leaders face.  And if you are an effective leader, you should not have to worry too much about what may be there when you return.  You should ensure someone can cover for the most urgent items so you can actually take the necessary time we all need.

So, what happens if you don't take time off?  Well, what does it show your hard working employees?  It tells them they can't take it either, which is not a good idea.  This is how you lose good employees.  Let them take their time fact as good leader will insist upon it, as it will improve productivity.  Everyone needs a break, take yours and show your employees you trust them to get the work done when you are not there.  Leaders share work, delegate work and understand that their team will still function without the leader there, because the leader has trust in them.

It is summer here...take vacation even if it is a staycation due to Covid 19.  Your team has you covered.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Coaching Your Employees

Coaching - it is the word so many organizations are using these days instead of managing.  So what is the difference?

Coaching is a way to help your employees overcome their obstacles, learn from mistakes and get along with others.  It is not easy.  Most executives have life or business coaches, because they too need to know how to coach employees or deal with their own stresses.

A simple step in starting this process is to realize we are all different.  None of us is exactly the same (and I say that even though I have an identical twin sister).  Everyone sees the world different, has different experiences that shape how they see the world, and everyone takes information in, in different ways.  Keeping that all in mind, coaching is a way to have the employee figure out their own answer to their issues without unnecessary pressure or feeling anxious in talking with their manager. 

Let's take a common example - the employee who is always late for meetings.  Normally you roll your eyes when they join you, tell them after the meeting that this was unacceptable or even worse, you chastise them for always being late in front of their peers.  It hasn't helped yet and they are late for another meeting.

Try this instead: determine why they are always late and help them overcome the obstacles to being on time going forward.  Here is a brief example:

Manager - Tara, do you have a moment for some feedback?

Tara - Yes I do.

Manager - Wonderful, let's go into my office.  I noticed that you have been late for the last couple of meetings.  Is there anything holding you back from being on time?

Tara - Well, I walk past the lunchroom and there are always few people who need to ask me questions and before I know it several minutes have past and I am late.

Manager - How do you think you can change it so you can try to be on time?

Tara - I suppose I could go around the other side of the office and avoid the lunchroom.

Manager - Great!  Do you think we could give that a try to see if it helps?

Tara - Sure.

You can see that the manager here is asking good questions to determine the root cause of the problem, allowing Tara to see the issue, and also having her come up with her own solution.  This causes a lot less anxiety about talking with you as the leader, and helps her achieve her own solution.

Try it next time one of your directs is late for a meeting.

Every leader needs a coach too.  Contact me today via email at or visit our website at

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Getting back at it.

It has been a while since I posted, and no this does not have to do with Covid has to do with me and some changes that came to my workplace over the last few months.  There was lots of change.

There are layoffs, like most companies.  Big budget cuts, like most companies.  Bigger workloads, like most companies.  You get the picture.

I had a lot to do and organize and needed to take care of that and my family first before my blogs, during these very strange times we are in.

I am hoping to post 1 time a week to 1 time a month depending on the topics that come to me.  I do hope you will follow me soon and enjoy the posts.

In the meantime, please do stay safe wherever you live.