There is certainly something special and counter cultural about the culture in many men’s sheds. Perhaps the context for this is that a shed is not a place of work where production is the focus and other people and projects are competitors. In a shed the emphasis is on skills sharing, collaboration, friendship, belonging and a spirit generosity.
Many members of sheds have considerable skills to share and the sharing of these skills not only contributes the learners well-being but also the man sharing the skill. It generates a culture of mutual learning and reciprocation rather than one up man-ship.
Sheds are known for their humour and some might find the humour offensive, however the difference between friendly banter and bulling is a subtle. However; one is about comradeship and the other is about trying to get something over another man.
Collaboration rather than Competition
Often when working on a project, even when its a man’s your own project this will require the collaboration and help of another man. The willingness to support and work with another man on his or a community project is one of the aspects that enables a shed to be a place of mutual support and comradeship.
An openness to learn
Often men in a men’s shed have years of experience but there is always something new to learn from another member and an openness to learn demonstrates a security in one’s own skills and knowledge and a good discussion about how tackle a difficult practical task will often result in lots of fun such has how to remove a stuck seat post from a bike frame.
Health professionals like to encourage men to join a shed for the all the positive mental and physical health benefits membership brings. However it is clear that men need to be seen as members with something to offer rather than a client with a deficit to be meet.
A Spirit of Generosity
Its always encouraging to find that sheds are encouraging and supportive of news sheds setting up weather it be inviting members to have a look round, sharing health and safety and governance paperwork, or through the donation of tools and equipment or though carrying projects for the local community.