When Daryl Muhammad, SHRM-CP, was young, he had the seed of service to others planted in him by his father.
His dad was a public servant for East St. Louis, Ill., where he served as a precinct committeeman, city treasurer and head coach of his son’s baseball team. Watching how his father supported, served and mentored others inspired Muhammad to get his bachelor’s degree in psychology so he could help people by understanding their behaviors. He also developed an interest in business, so his college advisor introduced him to the field of industrial organizational psychology. That led to his career in human resources.
Muhammad’s father died earlier this year, but that seed of service to others that was planted early on has taken root. In addition to serving the workforce at his company, Muhammad helps others in the profession as director of diversity for the Missouri State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and as a member of SHRM’s National Together Forward @Work Task Force.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Pushing myself from the comfort of being an introvert in the background to being a leader in the forefront. The transformation came about 10 years ago when I was asked to present awards for a black-tie fundraiser for a previous employer. The experience was both gut-wrenching and liberating. From then on, I was able to propel myself into various leadership positions, speaking engagements and presentations.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
My biggest joy is spending time with my wife and son. I am an avid Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, again inspired by my father, who introduced me to Marvel comics. Fitness is a big part of my life, particularly strength training, and studying VSK Jiujitsu.
What is your favorite business book?
Stephen R. Covey’s The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (Free Press, 2005). It focuses on empowering the individual with choice and helping them find their voice regardless of the situation or circumstance. This book is a continual reference for me in building trust and collaboration with all levels of employees.
Photograph by Whitney Curtis for HR Magazine.