By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd
What does it really matter what I do at work? It is what I do at home that really matters. Why put so much energy into building an engaging kind of workplace when I should be focused on being a great husband and father? Why bother?
This past weekend I was camping with my family. My 12 year old son was hanging around as I was packing up the mini-van. We were joking around a bit as I worked and then he said something that I am still thinking about. He said, in a very tentative way, “Can I help dad?”
My son is hard to understand for many people, but he seems easy to understand to me. He can be frustrating to others that don’t know him very well, but to me he is the most loveable kid in the world. He seems selfish to many, but it is really just that he is so busy in his internal world of exploration that he does not notice the needs of others much.
By spending time with my son, by learning what his passions are, by letting him make mistakes, by asking him open ended questions and trying hard to truly listen, by not judging him when he does questionable things – but instead asking him “Why?”. By sharing myself, my past mistakes and my passions with him, I hope I am building a strong relationship that will survive the upcoming teenage turmoil and turn into a lifelong close friendship.
I have had many signs that I am on the right path with my son. This little unexpected question is just the latest one.
In learning and practicing engaging management, I am honing the skills of coaching, listening, communicating effectively and providing non-judgmental feedback. I am not a perfect father, far from it, but I know I am a much better dad because of my journey at work.
There is no better reason why.