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By Darryl Stewart

It pays to be a lazy and selfish leader

I admit it. I lead selfishly. I put my own needs first.

My needs are to:

  • not be dragged into every little situation;
  • not work long hours;
  • be able to focus on positive, move-forward, what-comes-next kind of work;
  • not worry about what is going to screw up next;
  • have others figure out the solutions to problems instead of me;
  • see our company resources (money, assets, time) treated wisely;
  • be able to take a holiday and know that things at work will be taken care of;
  • be told when I am wrong; and
  • know that the people I work with are challenged to learn and grow.

In order to have these needs met, I have learned to agree on a vision with my team – one of their creation as much as possible, especially in the details – and to share this vision widely, and then to focus on what each person needs while encouraging them to move towards the vision. My sneaky selfish self has learned that I can get by as a leader simply by listening, showing empathy, bridging communication gaps, coaching people through problems, giving honest feedback, assuming good intentions, pitching in when needed, and being openly grateful.

Other, less selfish leaders take the time to meticulously break down the work into tiny bits, to generously watch as each task gets done, and to graciously manage each task their employees do. They also make sure not to burden people with understanding the bigger picture of where they are going or telling them how they are doing. Unlike me, they also do not bother with the indulgence of taking carefree time off. They stay plugged in all the time, helping everyone do things precisely the way they think they should be done.

As I have become more selfish, my effectiveness as a leader and the results my team achieves have increased almost exponentially. Who says it does not pay to be lazy? 🙂

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IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.