A few months ago I was working on the set of Dynasty and as with any film set, there is a lot of downtimes. A few of us were hanging out between shots and watched as giant industrial cranes worked on building projects across the road. One person commented on the fragility of such a large piece of equipment and they were right. As large and strong as they are, everything depends on the counterweight for it to stay together.
Serving without a show
It’s likely that you haven’t even noticed the counterweight on these large cranes. (It’s the rectangle piece at the end of the crane in this week’s picture) That’s because it’s the one part that is not putting on a show. You notice these cranes pivoting over the skyline and lifting large objects from one place to another. The counterweight may be the most important piece, but it largely goes unrecognized.
When you are working hard at your job or helping someone else out, don’t do it for the glory or the credit. Do it because you can make an impact on others. It can be difficult to work hard on a project only for someone else to get all the credit for it. You may feel underappreciated, undervalued or left out. Keep at your best and reward yourself if you feel yourself falling into this situation. Enjoy some pampering, go out to your favorite restaurant, or take a trip. Be sure to keep your work or assistance at the high level you are known for.
Some people actually love to play this part of the counterweight role. They love to help and contribute but have no desire to be in the spotlight. If this is you be an encouragement to those around you that may struggle in this area.
The obvious function of the counterweight is to provide balance. Without it, the crane comes tumbling down as soon as it picks something up. Groupthink, where everyone constantly shares the same consensus, is dangerous for the team and business. Be brave and speak out when you feel a decision or action isn’t the best solution and support those that do the same.
My wife serves as my counterweight often. She balances out my decision-making and helps me make sure that I am not overworked or overcommitted. Make sure you have someone in your life that is the counterweight for you and then be that for someone else as well.
The perfect amount of presence
The counterweight has to be weighted perfectly to be functional. If it’s too light the crane will tip over forward. If it’s too heavy, you’ve just created a version of a catapult.
Use your self-awareness skills to find that perfect balance and presence. Step in when needed to provide a missing perspective while avoiding being too forceful in the interaction. Understand your place on the team and project. If you are the counterweight, don’t try to make yourself in the cabin, the arm, or the hook. Continually analyze your contribution and interaction with others and make adjustments as needed.
The counterweight may not be the center of attention, but it plays a critical role in keeping everything together. Help without the need for the spotlight, and balance out those around you.
Make a better tomorrow.