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7 Questions on Leadership with Winnie D Talley

Name: Winnie D Talley

Title: Founder & CEO

Organisation: People Operations Services

A people leader with over 15 years of experience in a variety of fields including administration, human resource, and management. I have served in many industries and is able to provide direction and guidance with my awareness and extensive skill sets.

As the founder and CEO of People Operations Services, my objective is to continue to learn more and do more. I am a strong believer in adopting mechanisms that can not only lead to success but also create a long-term positive change. I aim to continue to earn trust and remain reliable and supportive as I partner with businesses to enhance their cultural growth, and organizational effectiveness with procedural administration.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Winnie's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a global executive in a large multinational, my biggest challenge as a leader was navigating the peer relationships to ensure that my team was being provided the right opportunities for growth.

As the founder of EPS, my biggest challenge has evolved. Now that every decision ultimately falls on my shoulders, I find that the weight of making wise decisions while balancing the impact of all relevant stakeholders has become the most challenging. I care deeply about my team, our clients, and the impact we have in our communities. As a result, navigating the decision making process with long term vision & confidence has become the most challenging part of my role.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was born a leader and life experiences shaped me to be the leader I am today. It did not matter what role or title I carried in an organization, I gave it my all.

I started my working career as an intern deputy clerk in high school and that position required me to work closely with diverse people and to be mindful of unconscious bias.

After I graduated from high school, I began working as full time deputy and every role or title afterwards have been in leadership. This is the humbling truth and I am grateful that others saw my passion and trusted me to lead the people of their organization.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I am very structured and I follow a daily routine, with little to no deviation.

I rise at 5am and have my quiet time while getting ready for the day. Have breakfast. Work continuously for about five hours. Rest. Work for a few more hours, then I have dinner.

At 5pm I am no longer available to world; I go into isolation with deep studying and mediation until bedtime at 9pm.

I do not watch television. I take a holistic approach to life and monitor my intake in all aspects. I am intentional about learning something new everyday that will benefit my tomorrow.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Recently I was given the ideology that in life you can swim or float. If your floating, you are going through life without a destination. Wherever the water takes you is where you go. If you are swimming, your are intentional about getting to your destination.

Many people float because its comfortable and it does not require much effort. One of the downfalls of floating is that time does not wait for no one, and before you know it, you will look up and life has passed you by and you didn't do any of those things that you had dreamed of or hope to do.

Swimming requires effort and strategic planning. Its not easy. It hurts and get tiresome but when you make it to shore or your destination, you will find that it was worth it.

As the leader of your life, you have to ask yourself, are you swimming or floating?

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

One book that impacted me and my leadership style is Relational Intelligence by Dr. Dharius Daniels. He taught me how to put people in categories. While that does not sound pleasant, its necessary.

I learned how important it was to strengthen my RQ, relational intelligence, and exercise discernment to determine if someone should be a part of my life, and if so, decide at what compacity and move accordingly.

This imperative because as leaders, sometimes, we allow tenure and familiarity to cause us to become emotional attached which can sometimes drive our decisions. However, when we become relational intelligent we develop the people skills needed to make better choices for a greater return.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

To a young leader that's pursing purpose and passion, I say to know, do not stop. Understand that disruption follows intention, but it last always. Keep going because we need you.

Be reminded that when you give birth to something its painful in the beginning, but once the pain stops, the joy is forever.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I remember in the beginning of my journey having so many people rooting for me and once the dust settled, no one was there but me.

What that taught me is that you will have a multitude of people that will celebrate with you, but only a few that will sweat and go through disappointment with you. Everyone loves sun shining days, but not many can stand the rain.

Every season is necessary to develop you as a leader. Its important to remember before you can harvest the crop you have planted, you have to go through the waiting season, some of us will experience a dry season, but in due season, you will reap your harvest if you do not give up.

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