Contact Barb

Barbara is President of Legacy Bowes Group and is well known as a leader in the field of human resources. In addition to her work in human resources, organizational development, career management, and training, Barbara is a weekly columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press and the author of seven books. An award winning professional, she frequently speaks on human resources and its importance to business success. Barbara’s clients include a wide variety of industry sectors as well as First Nation communities and agencies.

Smile! You're on Camera

Human resources, IT must team up on workplace surveillance


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 dilemma for HR professionals is how to manage the personal and professional interests of all these generations.

Technological advances have also significantly changed the way we work and how we manage. In fact, without technology, we shut down.

We recruit our candidates through websites and social media. We train our employees through online portals and assess them through online 360-degree feedback. We easily participate in team meetings with colleagues in foreign countries.

Technology has also enabled management to become strategic partners in business planning as we now use data and analytics to discover organizational trends, determine areas for improvement and project future HR needs. Technology has increased our ability to supervise, manage and protect employees. For instance, security cameras are now widely used to protect both workplaces and employees. As well, management can now monitor work through examining an employee's keystrokes, observing and tracking their online activity and capturing an individual's email and text messages. On some occasions, although not well received, employees have received their termination notices through email.

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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.

In her view, the fault lies with leaders who over-manage and don't lead instead of coaching employees and developing their skills and expertise. When a leader acts in such a way, all they get from employees is excuses. This leads to even more workplace drama.

So what is the solution?

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Successful Organizations Develop Leaders for the Future

The headline in the Free Press read, City sees healthy growth in economic development and reported the growth momentum was predicted to continue well into 2015. It’s nice to see Manitoba’s competitive advantage has been successful in attracting large world-class companies. At the same time, I am pretty proud of the large number of mid-sized, family-owned enterprises demonstrating success.


To continue growth momentum and to sustain world-class status, however, every organization, large or small, needs strong leadership. Leadership is the only way in which you will continue holding on to and sustaining competitive advantage. In today’s global market, the need for strong and effective leadership is unprecedented. Unfortunately, studies show only 30 to 40 per cent of organizations are well prepared to fill their vacant leadership positions should the need arise.

This raises the question: What is the status of your leadership team? Are you at risk from potential retirements? Do you have gaps in the leadership pipeline? Has the criteria for leadership in your organization changed? Are you failing to develop new leaders within your organization? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to take action now. Where do you start? The following guidelines will assist you in creating a foundation for leadership development within your organization.

Identify corporate competencies

It has probably been some time since you really paid attention to the skills and competencies needed for leadership, either currently and/or for the future. The first step is to confirm future business trends and determine your strategic plan. Once this is complete, identify the leadership competencies needed to realize your future by identifying just what leadership behaviours, knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes are required for continued success. Prioritize what you consider the core competencies because these are considered a must-have qualification for any candidate.

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Policies are There for a Reason

Following the rules is a strategy for career success

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.

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Identifying the Leaders Among Us

Every workplace has go-to people who aren’t managers; managers need to nurture them

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.

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