By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you appreciate the value of manual labor. Reading time 2:15
The dichotomy was strident: a pristine well-polished, manicured politician vs. a grimy, scrappy dirty-finger nailed coal miner. And the leader is? Yep you guessed it – the coal miner.
Even John F. Kennedy –the well manicured politician—learned something about emotional intelligence in particular and personal leadership in general from that coal miner — a lesson that all leaders need to heed:
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
It happened during the 1960 presidential campaign. Kennedy met the coal miner one day during a campaign swing in West Virginia.
Kennedy wore his $1,000 suit and a $100 haircut . The coal miner wore ragged overalls and coal dust smudges on his face that could not cover the wrinkles of working in the mines all his life. The coal miner looked up at Kennedy and scornfully said:
“Senator, they say you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and that you’ve never had to really put in a day’s work. Is that right?”
Kennedy stammered and pawed at the ground with his $500 dollar shoes while the national media cameras hovered over him like hungry tigers. Finally Kennedy, virtually choking on his proverbial silver spoon, looked down at the old snaggle-toothed, leather-faced, coal miner and finally admitted: “Well, I guess that’s about right. I haven’t worked as hard as you have.”
Kennedy braced himself for the expected backlash. But then the coal miner looked up at Kennedy and said: ” Well don’t worry Senator. You haven`t missed a darn thing.”
Kennedy laughed. The salivating media sighed. And the miner grinned, satisfied if not comfortable with his lot in life and knowing that he had just taught the future President of the United States a key lesson: don’t assume the facts in any situation. Don’t jump to a conclusion. Dig for the facts. Dig deep. Even with a silver spoon.
Salute Manual Labor to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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