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Barbara Bowes

  • Identifying the leaders among us

    Recently, I had lunch with a business acquaintance who is the epitome of a hidden leader. Over a 20-year time frame and with a grade 12 education, she rose from the shop floor to being a corporate president. When I first met her, I was teaching facilitation skills to a group of front-line employees. I took note of her ability to learn quickly, her enthusiasm, the respect others showed toward her, and her eagerness to adapt to change.
  • Schedule a summer intern

    Every summer, holiday schedules create challenges, especially in smaller organizations. In order to alleviate the problem, some leaders require that employees take no more than two weeks of vacation at a time, as it is difficult to accommodate longer stays away from work.
  • The challenge of change

    I remember in my youth I found time seemed to just creep along rather slowly. I couldn't wait to graduate, I couldn't wait to go to university, I couldn't wait to graduate from university and I couldn't wait until I secured my first professional job. Yet, now that I'm older with many years in my profession, it seems time passes far too fast. For instance, my one-week vacation flew by in such a flash I found myself confused about time and dates.
  • Reached a crossroads in your career?

    Reached a crossroads in your career?

    Learn the signs that signal it’s time for a little self-reflection

  • Going all-inclusive

    I am most proud of the cultural mosaic of Winnipeg and Manitoba. We have people from many cultures living and working here, all contributing to the economy. There are many positives from this phenomenon as well as challenges. The mayor's newly appointed indigenous advisory circle is a good example. Its purpose is to create unity and equality through understanding and building bridges in our community.
  • Policies are there for a reason

    Things happen fast in a global world. In Malaysia, two Saskatchewan siblings ended up in court and were eventually deported after they -- along with others -- stripped naked on a mountain that's considered sacred and posted photos on social media. Not only did the photos go viral, they coincided with a terrible earthquake. Unfortunately, the social-media stunt was linked by the government to the natural disaster and the subsequent loss of life.
  • Wardrobe malfunction

    There's a good deal of sizzle in the news lately about dress codes in schools. The issue falls on the shoulders of young women who are accused of baring too much skin. The other challenge appears to be that many schools don't have a dress code per se, but ask students to dress "appropriately." Of course, this is open to interpretation.
  • Summertime schmoozing

    Ah, summer. The time for vacation, time for the annual summer juggle (holiday schedules), time for student interns and the time for staff parties where the good times roll. But let's not forget time for conversations, networking and making connections.
  • Punching the clock at the cottage

    I'll be honest, I am sitting in my beautiful cedar-lined sunroom while I write my Free Press column. I can see and feel nature, hear the birds, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. It's such a pleasure to enjoy a cup of hot tea on the deck. The only thing missing is the lake. But, it got me thinking: how many employees work from their cottage during the summer? How many employees stay connected while on vacation? Technology allows us to be connected 24/7 -- and we love it.
  • Canadian pride lacking?

    I must say I very much enjoyed the Victoria Day long weekend (weather, notwithstanding) and hope you did, too. However, I was quite surprised to learn a recent survey showed at least 50 per cent of Canadians don't know why we celebrate this statutory holiday.
  • Self-regulation is in

    The Manitoba government recently introduced legislation that would add occupational certification to many industries. Although details are scant, it's suggested the legislation would create better training and skills development.
  • Out of the office

    Where can a young person find a job that helps them stand out in a crowd without competitiveness? Where can youth find a summer job that results in building lifelong friendships and lifelong employability skills?
  • Playing politics

    During the past several months, readers and the public have been exposed to the highest level of relationship conflict an organization can experience: conflict between warring executives. Those very same people whose role is to develop strategic direction and delegate to administration to make things happen. I can just envision the warring parties, locked in conflict and ignoring each other as they walk down one of those hallowed halls of government. I don’t know whether the conflict within the provincial NDP has been festering for years, but I think most of us recognize decisions are not being made and work is not being done.
  • What summer students need

    While spring weather itself has been slow, time is still slipping by, and before you know it, those summer-student applicants will be knocking at your door. Hiring a summer student can be very beneficial to your organization, especially if your existing resources are stretched and you need to find a means of leveraging your resources. Students today often bring advanced computer skills and a phenomenal ability to navigate the Internet, both of which might prove very valuable for special projects within your organization.
  • Managers need to lead by example

    Almost every manager I speak to talks about the amount of time they spend on human resource issues. Some even feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the issues relate to interpersonal conflict between employees, bullying, blaming, poor performance, job dissatisfaction, gossip, complaints and whiney attitudes. According to Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership, and the keynote speaker at the upcoming QNET conference, part of the challenge is that many employees have adopted learned helplessness both in their personal and professional lives. In her view, employees are feeling they lack control and have an inability to change their circumstances. This results in negative attitudes and presents a problem for leaders.
  • Decisions, decisions

    You probably don't realize it, but from a personal perspective, you make decisions about life every day. You determine whether or not you want to continue with advanced education or apply for a job instead. You apply for a job, but then make a decision it wasn't for you and subsequently decide to move on to something else. Most of you will at some time decide to buy a house, purchase a car, get married, have children or get divorced. Others willingly or are forced to make the tough decision to leave their birth country and start a new life elsewhere. In other words, people make decisions at every stage of their life. But, let's face it, some decisions are simply tougher than others. And, when decisions are tough and more challenging, greater care and attention must be brought to the issue at hand.
  • See how others see you

    Have you ever thought about whether you correctly understand your public image? Have you ever considered there might be a difference between how you see your strengths and challenges versus how others -- your boss, colleagues, friends and even your spouse -- see them?
  • Exploring new management structures

    I've often written about leadership trends and the skills new leaders will need for future success. But what isn't talked about much is the issue of organization design or the how and why organizations are structured. Most organizations are structured with a fairly steep hierarchy and central authority. The larger the organization, the larger the hierarchy and bureaucracy. Jobs are narrowly defined and slotted into specific pay grades.
  • Smile! You're on camera

    Human resources and talent management has always been an evolving industry sector. Today, word is our baby boomers are finally leaving the workplace while Generation X and the millennials are taking over. Yet, at the same time, there are just as many baby boomers who are either staying or returning to the workplace.
  • The motivation equation

    Valentine's Day has come and gone for another year. Cards have been exchanged, special dinners were arranged and perhaps a nice bouquet of flowers arrived on your doorstep. I'm sure a great deal of personal pleasure and happiness arose from these exchanges and hopefully, the pleasant feelings helped to cement your relationships over the long term. However, it made me think about the status of employee rewards and recognition. Are today's employees motivated by a one-time reward or bonus for good work? How long does the pleasant effect of an annual financial bonus last versus recognition in front of one's peers? Then again, are in-kind rewards, such as guest tickets at a hockey game or special event, considered more valuable? Then again, do employees feel valued when they are selected as employee of the month? Or, do all of these efforts simply leave employees, especially millennials, feeling manipulated and lacking motivation?
  • The self-employment challenge

    Frankly, I never did think of myself as being self-employed and/or being an entrepreneur, but here I am, all these years later. To be honest, I simply needed a new challenge, and the only way I could get it was to go out on my own.
  • Asking all the right questions

    I've always been someone who has asked a lot of questions. I'm a curious person, and I want to know why things are as they are. I want to understand the way the world works so I know how to fit into it. Interestingly enough, when I was a young student, I caused a lot of trouble for myself by asking too many questions and challenging the teachers. But it didn't end there; I also got into trouble at work for asking too many questions.
  • Gauging the gouging

    For the past few years, our local world has been abuzz about the issue of perceived conflict of interest in government agencies. The issue is complicated, convoluted, hard for the general public to understand and hard to track.
  • Do the right thing

    Citizens and stakeholders in the community as well as the corporate world are saying loud and clear, "We won't stand for it anymore! No, no, no!" That's the powerful message you heard last week as some of the details of unethical behaviour by a former college president surfaced in the news. No, no, no, said CBC brass as they made the decision to suspend popular radio host Jian Ghomeshi for alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour. And again, CBC brass said no as they suspended the practice of allowing on-air personalities to reap the benefits of high-paid speaking gigs outside of their regular work.
  • Bounce back after a layoff

    We've all seen our world turn upside-down at some point in our lives, but this latest downward trend in fuel prices is certainly throwing us into a bit of chaos. I don't recall such a rapid, teeter-totter transition from high to low prices. And while we are enjoying the benefit of low gasoline prices, knowing a job cut might be just over the next horizon isn't so much fun. Yet, that's exactly what's happening.