How Becoming A Father Made Me A Better CEO

Ryan McGrath
Aug 29, 2021
min read
How Becoming A Father Made Me A Better CEO

Despite how uncertain last year was, it proved to be one of the most rewarding periods of my life. My wife and I welcomed a baby boy back in July. At a mere 9 pounds, our son changed everything. His arrival put things in perspective and brought forth clarity—both personally and professionally. Becoming a father has shown me what really matters and reaffirmed my staunch commitment to self-improvement.    

When I first joined Asset Living, I had the privilege of working shoulder-to-shoulder with my own father for 11 years. Together, we experienced growing pains and our fair share of ups and downs, but I learned a great deal during this time. Since then, the tides have turned. My father no longer works at Asset, and I am now both a father and a CEO.  

As I embark on this new journey, I think there are invaluable leadership lessons that can be gleaned from fatherhood. Here are a few I’ve come across so far.    

Lead By Example  

As a dad, you are always watched—carefully examined by the constant gaze of your offspring. They observe you, absorb your every move, and ultimately follow your lead. As a CEO, you too are always watched. Therefore, as both a leader and a father, you must lead by example. Your kids look to you for guidance, advice, and answers. They depend on you. The people at your organization depend on you, too. Being a great leader, much like being a great father, requires concerted effort; it’s a full-time commitment—not a casual endeavor.  

Emotional Acuity  

As a dad, you are required to be flexible, compassionate, and motivational. These are also traits of an excellent leader. In general, mastering certain soft skills is critical to becoming an effective leader. You are always interacting with distinct personalities and juggling an array of dynamics at any given moment. At home, my wife and I are dedicated to setting up our son for success. At the office, I’m dedicated to ensuring my people improve, experience self-growth, and ultimately succeed. Because when our kids, or our employees, succeed—we succeed.  

Creativity & Innovation  

Watching my son interact with the world inspires me daily. As adults, we quickly become jaded with the mundane facets of life. My son's curious nature is not only refreshing, but also enlightening. It reminds me to keep an open mind in business and in life. Seeing him experience things for the first time fuels my creativity and deepens my curiosity. The business landscape is ever changing; so, as a leader, you must continue to question things, stay open to new ideas, and remain curious.  


Perhaps one of the most important lessons that fatherhood reinforced for me is the power of teamwork. My wife and I share the responsibilities of parenthood; there are certain things she’s more equipped at handling for our son, and I recognize this. This isn’t to say that parenting is a two-person job. There are plenty of incredible single parents—all of whom have earned my utmost respect. In a workplace, there will inevitably be teammates that excel at certain tasks more than others. To be an effective team, individuals must cater to each other's strengths and weaknesses. In the end, a leader must know when to follow and when to lead.  

As my son grows older, I hope that I’ll continue to learn new things about myself, life, and what it means to be both a father and a business leader.

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