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.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Leadership during pandemics

First and foremost is to protect your people.  Without them, you do not have a chance.  So what do you do?

Plan for the pandemic before it happens?  Too late?  Then follow whatever your country or head offices is asking you to do.  Here are a few ideas if you need them:

1 - do not let visitors into your building or offices
2 - if you have drivers, ask them to stay in a very small area, where you have hand sanitizer for them to use.  Have only 1 person deal with them and ensure protective equipment (ie gloves) is available.
3 - ask any employee who has any symptoms to stay at home
4- work out a plan to pay hourly workers something if at all possible
5 - determine who can work from home and give them the tools they need ahead of having to work from home
6 - follow all common ways to prevent virus spread such as washing your hands
7 - sanitize anywhere people share a place, such as washrooms, kitchens, coffee stations, etc
8 - listen to your employees - they have ideas too!
9 - do not shake hands
10 - practice social distancing
11 - etc, etc, etc, etc

There are so many good and bad things on the internet.  Follow what you have been asked to, add tips and tricks you know are good and work with your employees, and listen to their fears, ideas and health.  Ensure you limit your exposure as your team will need you.  You are the leader.

Take care and stay healthy and safe!

Note: coaching is available via phone, WhatsApp and skype (without video).

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Read A Leadership Book

As leaders, it is important to read a leadership "self help" book from time to time.  Why?  Because it reminds us of who we want to be, why we are a leader and how we want to act around employees, not to mention the millions of great ideas to help us enhance the work life our ourselves and those we lead.

There are a lot of great books out there, so pick one that speaks to you, is recommended and will help you grow at being a leader.  I am reading "The Effective Manager" right now and like its concepts, some of which it happens I already do practise as a manager.  However, it has enlightened me as to how I can improve even more.

Happy Reading!

Feel free to reach me at or

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Change Can Be Good

Every once in a while I get an inkling that there is change on the horizon.  Sometimes it is valid and sometimes it is not.  Change however, should always be seen as good or a way forward.

Organizational change can be scary and sometimes will affect your employees.  It is important to remember that your employees are not aware of what you may know yet.  When you do tell them that say, they will have a new manager, someone is being promoted or even other types of organizational changes, be sure to remember that they are finding out for the first time.  Emotions can come with this including: happiness, fear, loss, confusion, anger, etc.  You need to be prepared.  Knowing your employees individually comes in very handy at these times.  Not everyone reacts the same, so you need to know how to handle each individual person.

An example: Jane is being promoted to manager, but Joe thought he should get this position.  Jane is going to be happy and perhaps a bit scared.  Perhaps Joe is confused or angry about not getting the position.  For Jane you want to congratulate her, ensure she knows you are there to help her as she grows into the new position, then explain to her new reports about the mentoring and training period for Jane.  However, if you see Joe is angry or acting out, take him aside later and ask him how he feels about the situation.  If he feels he should have received the promotion over Jane, then be prepared to explain why Jane deserved the promotion AND then tell Joe what he can do so he can receive this promotion next time and help him get there with training, education or experience.

Food for thought on a Saturday.