Beyond the Label
by Deb Callahan
May 1st, 2023

Learning to Recognize Our Superheroes, While Striving to be Character Models

The term “superhero” was first used in 1899. Since then, definitions vary. I like a combination of the definitions from Merriam –Webster dictionary and the Britannica dictionary for real people: exceptionally skillful people and those who do dangerous work.

On April 25, the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Women in Fenestration group met to discuss superheroes. Among the qualities recognized were: patience, courage, compassion, empathy, humility, confidence, ingenuity, selflessness, perseverance and honesty. Of course, these aren’t attributes limited to women. And these aren’t attributes that are easy to maintain 100% of the time. If it were easy, we wouldn’t need superheroes, would we?

And maybe superhero status isn’t what we should strive to attain. Maybe we should set our sights on adopting as many of those attributes as we can, while pressing ourselves to be better leaders, role models and mentors.

One of the most important elements of leadership is the practice of gratitude—the intentional practice of thanking others for a job well done, recognizing those whom you admire and acknowledging people who have gone above and beyond to make the world a better place.

Now is the perfect time to do this. There are opportunities to recognize the people you’re grateful for or admire in real life. Start with May 1, known as May Day–whose origins are rooted in workers’ rights and celebration of the eight-hour workday. Although in the U.S. we formally celebrate our workforce on Labor Day, don’t let that stop you from thanking your staff now. How about May 14, Mother’s Day, for all the selfless mothers out there; for more “unconventional” families, May 15 is International Family Day, and we are thankful to those who step in to raise the next generation when others can’t.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month, with May 29 being Memorial Day, of course. I would like to thank NFRC staff member Dennis Anderson for his military service, as well as Michelle Blackston, who is a military spouse and shares in the sacrifices associated with her husband’s Navy career.

Specific to this industry, I am grateful for those who work to make products more sustainable. I am grateful to those who work to make products accessible to the less fortunate. I am grateful for those in the industry who volunteer their time, to NFRC and others, to make the programs and products as good as they can be.

I hope you’ll take a moment to thank those who do something meaningful in your life. Good leadership includes timely recognition of a job well done. Let’s use the thumbs up gesture, so prevalent in social media, in real life interactions and show encouragement.

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