How To Avoid the Leadership Credit Mistake

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One of the single biggest team-building problems leaders face is found in their inability to identify who it is who is always coming up with those great ideas.

As a leader, you need to know who your big idea generators are.

And of the biggest reasons so many leaders fail to identify their top idea people is because of misunderstanding the phrase, “Just think of what our team can accomplish if no one cares who gets the credit!”

That quote is usually attributed to President Harry Truman.

Well, with respect to President Truman, this idea is often misunderstood. While it’s true that your team is better off without grandstanding spotlight-stealers, it really does matter to you, and to your team, who gets the credit.

The idea that you, as a leader, ought to be unaware as to who keeps coming up with your team’s best ideas is not in the best interest of your team, your culture or your leadership.

If you have bought into the idea that “it doesn’t matter who gets the credit” step back and ask yourself these questions:

Do I know who is generating our best ideas?

Do I know who is launching our most successful initiatives?

Do I know who is producing the most results?

Do I know who is the most encouraging person on our team?

Do I know who is going out of their way to support their teammates’ projects?

If you do, give them the credit.

Otherwise, if you continue to misapply the “it doesn’t matter who gets the credit” sentiment, you will face an enormous leadership shortcoming; you will be unable to identify your key contributors.

So, no matter how noble the statement sounds, don’t misunderstand or misapply the notion that “it doesn’t matter who gets the credit”. Embrace the knowledge of the relative strengths of your team.

The whole team will ultimately benefit if credit is given where credit is due.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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