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Are You Pulling Your Own Weight?

A Charmm’d Pondering Point

In teamwork situations, we’re expected to pull our own weight. What does that mean? This phrase comes from the team sport of rowing. The idea is to pull the boat along using your own body weight. When every member does their share the boat glides smoothly. When one person fails to pull their weight, the others are left to pick up the slack. How do we react when others on our team are lagging? What does this do to team morale? Whose responsibility is it to call out complacency?

Does everyone’s fair share have to look the same? Can we have different roles and pull our own weight? Our commitment to the cause may have an impact on the dedication we have to our duties on the team. Are we pausing to check our commitment? Getting the right people on board (pairing talent and skill levels) can pull us through tough waters. Do we appreciate the weight our team members carry? Everyone in the boat has something to risk. When everyone pulls their weight, the celebration is sweet and ownership of success is felt by all!

Imagine... pulling your weight, lightening the load and sharing the success!

Individual Reflection

  • Can you admit when you have trouble pulling your own weight?

  • What responsibility do you have to speak up?

  • What would you do the same (and different) next time?

  • Have you ever had to confront a teammate for not contributing their share?

  • What came out of that gesture?

  • Have you ever had to step in to help a teammate pull their weight?

Team Exercise

As a group discuss these questions:

  • How do you want to be confronted for not pulling your own weight?

  • Who would you prefer the news come from? Leader? Teammate? Outside voice?

  • Hearing this choice out loud puts everyone on the same page and may help the team to feel more confident in pursuing their goals!

Another suggestion: Get out of the office and do a team activity – cooking a meal, tug-of-war, relay races, etc. – where importance is placed on each member pulling their own weight. Come together after and reflect on the successes and challenges everyone faced while attempting to pull their own weight.


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