Volume XX, Number 36 (Issue 988) September 5, 2022
The Pride of the Craftsman
Today is Labor Day – the day we set aside each year to honor the American worker for the contributions they have made to the growth, spirit, and success of this great nation. The first Labor Day parade was held on this very date one hundred forty years ago in New York City. However, Labor Day did not become an official federal holiday until twelve years later, June 28, 1894, when Congress passed an act designating the first Monday in September as the day we would celebrate the role of labor in helping to build this country.
I mention this because it appears that for far too many, Labor Day is more about a day off from work, bargains galore in stores and many online shopping sites, and the last hurrah of summer. To the extent that is true, it has morphed into something other than the celebration of work well done. Could it be that way now because too few take the same individual pride in their work the master craftsmen of old routinely did? Sadly, there are numerous signs that is the case.
I’m not saying that no one takes pride in their work. Rather, there are simply too many who see what they do to earn a living as a job or a means to other ends rather than viewing it as a profession. Consequently, not enough of us think of ourselves as a professional. But what if more of us did see ourselves in that light? If we could alter how people see and think of themselves, we might change how they (we) approach their (our) work. More to the point, we might take considerably more care in our product or the service we provide to others. In turn, that would foster greater attention to detail and fewer problems in terms of quality. And, if that were to happen, many might be proud to sign their work in the same way artists inscribe their name on their art. Think about the implications that would have for customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and so many additional facets of our economy.
Besides today being Labor Day, there is another reason I raise the issue of a craftsman’s pride. In two weeks, I’ll be addressing a group of managers in the hospitality industry. More than most, organizations in the hospitality industry were hit especially hard by COVID and it has proven to be a long, hard road back to something approaching a pre-COVID normal for those entities that survived. The message I’ve been asked to give is meant to focus and engage those managers and their teams so they are better able to move past the stress and fatigue the last two years plus have wrought. Beyond that, the aim is to help them more fully prepare for and benefit from the rebound now underway. One way I believe many of us and
our team can do precisely that is to think of and treat those who work with us as professionals – as true craftsmen and women capable and desirous of putting their best foot forward in all that they do.
Managers (leaders) have a crucial and ongoing role to play in such a shift in mindset. It begins with showing you genuinely care about your people as unique and talented individuals. There is more to it than that, but the first hurdle is to create a workplace environment where the team along with its commitment are the manager’s essential work product.
As a leader, are you prepared to put your signature on that creation? If the pride you feel in your team’s efforts reflects your stewardship and effectiveness as their leader, the answer is obvious.
Soli Deo Gloria
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.”Philemon 1:4-9a
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Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.