The word ‘Chairman’ in many minds may conjour up pictures of well-dressed and groomed individuals leading an organisation, company, Trust, NGO etc.
However as I shared in a blog a couple of weeks back, I recently worked as a driver for guests on a horse-riding safari in Namibia. Other than trying to be a diligent driver, it was obviously very apparent to the staff of Namibia Horse Safari Company, (NHSC) that I had ALL the attributes of a successful Chairman…or should that read “Chair Man” 🙂
You see, within a day of coming alongside the amazing support crew of NHSC, they identified these inherent skills and attributes and gave me the job (which they assured me was vital) of unpacking, opening and placing the camp chairs necessary at each lunch stop and end of day camp site as well as packing them away again once they had served their purpose! Admittedly the packing back into the trailer was a job best left to Rain or Phoebe as there was a definite knack to it, learnt only after months of practice! I’ve read to be an expert at anything you need to have done it 10,000 times…and these ladies were experts!
Now, before you laugh…yes I can see those cheeky grins starting…….I was told by at least 1 guest…ok to be precise…it was literally 1 guest, that the sight of the chairs after a hard morning, or afternoon’s ride was a welcome respite from the bum on the saddle (or words to that effect) 🙂
The truth is I took the job seriously (as I do with most things I’m responsible for), and enthusiastically placed the chairs in the semi-circle, normally facing a great vista or around the camp fire in the evening. I would check for the look of delight in the face of the riders and staff as they saw what I felt were impeccably placed chairs.
But that look of delight wasn’t there, and one by one they sat or slept in them :-). As they sat, I enthusiastically helped the leader of the ride, Andrew and his right hand man Gerard with orders for drinks to quench the guests’ thirsts. Each one expressed their thanks for the respite from dry throats and dehydrated bodies. Only afterwards as I reflected on the trip, it struck me the appreciation was always there for the drinks, but not so for the chairs.
I want to be clear, I don’t share this to feel sorry for myself, but as a reflection on how we can overlook the efforts of so many around us who daily carry out acts of serving others, without any gratitude or words of encouragement from those served. It challenged me with how I’ve been in the past, when holding positions of leadership ‘over others’, or in my every day life as I am served by petrol attendants, waiters, toll gate tellers….and even closer to home, my wife who cooks great meals for our family and serves us and others as a natural course of her day!
My challenge is to daily recognise the ‘Chair Men’ and ‘Chair ladies’ of this world and take time to acknowledge their role and give thanks and respect for their efforts….so to those reading this who fit the role, I salute you all!