Craftsmanship - A Leadership Virtue
December 2, 2017
Leaders are often particularly esteemed because they move quickly and decisively with little hesitation and rarely with a second thought. The principle held is that excessive tarrying is seen as a cost that stands in the way of value creation. Time, after all, is money.
The difficulty with this in today’s complex world is that discernment and attention to detail are essential. Decisions need to be crafted in a quality manner. Decisions for expediency sake alone can be perilous. Decisions need to be made right. Failure to do so can erode the bottom line, destroy the reputation of individuals and organizations, and even imperil the careers of others.
A leadership value which needs some level of serious re-evaluation is craftsmanship. In the leadership sense, craftsmanship can mean several things. It can, for instance, mean attention to detail and due diligence. Getting the facts before darting ahead in a certain direction can be of utmost importance. Weighing the views of other experts can also be essential. Diligently recording the situation analysis beforehand can be vitally important and valuable for recall when similar decisions need to be made in the future. This helps when the lessons previously learned need to be recalled. To be clear, good leaders need to be masters of their craft. They need to be the best they can be at what they do. Their skills need to be continually upgraded and refined. Quality time needs to be taken without being slow and lethargic or indecisive. Pride in the quality of work is imperative.
We are losing craftsmanship and skillful trades in this modern world. Skill seems to have been distilled down to how quickly and deftly we can manipulate digital information. We need to find a new respect for the skilled tradesman, even in leadership craftsmanship.
An Example of Leadership Craftsmanship
The Old Testament character, Bezalel, was a craftsman of superlative capability. His character and story are almost entirely confined to the Book of Exodus, where it is told that he was a master craftsman of the desert Tabernacle, the place where God met His people. Bezalel was specifically chosen by the LORD (Ex. 31:2). Not only was Bezalel filled with “ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts” (Ex. 31:3), but he was also filled with the “Spirit of God” (Ex. 31:3a). He was a man well skilled in what he did, and this was essentially important to God, because God wanted the Tabernacle to be assembled “exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Ex. 25:9). A quality job needed to be undertaken, and Bezalel and an associate, Oholiab (Ex. 31:6) were chosen by God to work together. Bezalel had responsibility for a team of craftsmen (Ex. 31:6) and so his leadership skills and technical skills were observed and absorbed by many other collaborators.
Think of what Bezalel and his associates needed to apply their skills to creating: the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 37:1-9), the Table of the Presence (Ex. 37:10-16), the Lampstand (Ex. 37:17-23) and the Altar of the Incense (Ex. 37:25-29), to name but a few of the Tabernacle furnishings. Indeed, the embroidery and fabrication of the whole Tabernacle was the responsibility of Bezalel and his team. They were to “carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary, as the LORD has commanded” (Ex. 36:1).
This is a story of skilled leadership and craftsmanship - a team working together and a pattern to be followed. All of the elements of the Tabernacle were created artistically and beautifully. Craftsmanship is a leadership virtue, which we cannot lose. Craftsmanship as a leadership virtue comes when we are also "filled with the Spirit of God". Apply this in your own leadership, and you will be able to create beautiful and enduring results.
Copyright © 2017 Rev. Michael F. Dell, Footpath Leadership, All rights reserved.