Recently I have heard a growing recognition of the people who make another’s work possible. Some examples:

  • The newest Crate & Barrel catalog features three women carpenters and designers on its cover with the headline: She Makes Us Crate. The opening spread is dedicated to the women in the woodshop who build the sets which grace the pages of the catalog.
  • In a People magazine interview, Mark Harmon expresses his appreciation for the crew of NICS: “This show represents a livelihood for a whole lot of people who arrive long before I do and leave well after me and don’t get paid nearly as much,” he said.
  • The Academy Awards (and other similar shows) give trophies not just to the actors, but to the sound mixer, film editor, set designer, etc. etc. etc. – paying tribute to those behind the scenes.
  • When speaking in favor of a Wealth Tax during a stump speech, Elizabeth Warren noted that to make their mega-fortunes business owners relied on roads, bridges, infrastructure and other community services to achieve their wealth and did not earn it all on their own.

Take a moment to think of all those who have made your work possible: the maintenance crews, technology support, central office functions, past colleagues, delivery staff and countless others. More people do their work “behind the scenes” than could ever be on the stage.

Choose someone whose work has allowed you to do yours and show them some appreciation today.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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