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By Darryl Stewart
image of fathers hand holding boy's hand

Why bother trying to be a better leader?

I spend a lot of time reading to learn more about writing and about leadership for this blog. I also try and put what I learn into practice. It is never easy – I often feel like a hypocrite! But I have noticed important changes over time: changes in my perspectives; changes in my worldview; changes in my happiness with who I am and how well I do my job.

When I began blogging, I was unsure why I was doing it and I shared that doubt in my first blog (see below). Why bother working at making our company something special? Why bother sharing what I learn? I questioned whether it was worth the added time away from my family.

Republished from the IBEX Payroll Blog (first published in May 2010):

Funny. As I walked my kids home from school this past Friday, I was thinking about my new blog. What would the first post be about? How would I communicate my passion for what we are doing at IBEX? Do I really want to do a blog? As I was thinking these thoughts I felt a hand slide into mine. It was my nine-year-old son Aidan’s hand. The blog thoughts slipped away completely and I thought about whether this would be the last time this ever happened. It happens rarely enough as it is. Nine-year-old boys are into many things and holding the old man’s hand is not high on that list. I enjoyed the moment, I engaged with my son, and after a few minutes I felt those fingers that I love so much gently and naturally slip away from mine.

I have thought about that moment in the context of my life almost non-stop ever since. 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 a different kind of workplace for myself and the rest of the Herd when I should be focused on being a great husband and father? Ultimately I don’t know the right answer to this question. I do believe though that every person wants to succeed as an individual and as a member of society. I want to build a company that attracts people committed to both and helps them do it in ways they never imagined.

I can now say without a doubt that the journey has been worth it and will continue to be until the day I die. Being a better leader, concerned about the well-being of my team and trying to get important things done well, has translated directly into being a better father, husband, and member of my community. Pausing to capture and share my thoughts and stories in this blog makes me that much more aware of – and grateful for – the things that matter most.

  1. Amazing how a few words can move the heart and pull people together across the miles. Thanks for sharing Darryl!

  2. Thanks for reposting Darryl. This is a great reminder of what matters most and why. Thanks for sharing.

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.