Yesterday evening we had some road repairs carried out in the street, beginning at 7 pm and supposedly finishing after midnight; in the event it was all wrapped up before midnight so we did get to sleep. Nothing much was apparent at 6 pm but then the caravan moved into town, with huge equipment and it worked with military precision; it’s the kind of stuff you see on motorways but it seemed much bigger as it took over this section of the town. After the road planer had taken off the layer of surface, another guy followed behind with a ruler to ensure the depth was in keeping with the end result. My eye was taken as I watched one guy go up and down the line which would become the joint between old and new, working as he poured bitumen from a watering can; his manner, his steps, his precision was every bit as detailed as the rest of the operation. From the grainy picture, you can guess he was working in what was by then half light.

I’m aware that for some of us, the attraction is working the big machinery of life; we’re leaders, heads of departments or whatever and hopefully we excel at those posts. But someone reading this may also be just as switched on at work but be the bitumen pourer, and your contribution will be just as vital. You’re just as an essential part of the team as the next guy and should realise it. Your position in the pile is immaterial because if your contribution was taken away, the whole result would be impaired; I have no idea how much this guy is paid and I’m guessing there are maybe others on the team paid more, but he’s out there in the half dark fulfilling the project by putting in his bit of the jigsaw.

It also made me think how none of the team would deride the others; they’re all there to undertake a collective mission and know their own role in the job, but also look out for each other. Drinks were passed around and the work moved smoothly ahead. As I write this the morning after, new lines are being painted on the surface to signify another job done.

If you’re part of a team, work like that; encourage each other. If you’re the head of the team, do the same; you’ll get much better results from heading up a team who know they’re appreciated. All the planning, all the arrangements necessary are carried out by individuals who work much better and will achieve greater efficiency if encouraged and valued.