“There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the ways we start many of our client engagements is with an OEA – our Organizational Effectiveness Assessment. This allows us to gather anonymous input from our clients’ employees as to what’s working at the organization, and what isn’t.
One of the workplace issues that often arise is the taking of credit and the placement of blame. It seems that way too many managers and leaders, at least in eyes of those that report to them, are too eager to take credit and too willing to place blame.
The taking of credit can be an error of commission – with a team leader or manager who is never willing to share credit where credit is due, or who blatantly claims responsibility for any and every win. Or it can be an error of omission – a hard-working team watches on the sidelines as the CEO, not knowing who truly did the work on a successful project, publicly acknowledges the team leader.
Similarly destructive are those leaders who are more than willing to blame others when things go wrong. We unfortunately hear about it often – how accountability is lacking and blame is thrown around like a hot potato, and, more often than not, placed on the person or department who has become a scapegoat for all that is “wrong.” As I often tell my children, it doesn’t matter who started it, just handle it.
In his recent book, The Blame Game, our colleague, Ben Dattner, shared the stories of several organizational leaders like Xerox CEO Ursula Burns who are masterful at sharing credit and encouraging risk-taking without fear of blame. He offered several tips for avoiding “the blame game” such as: start with positive expectations and give people the benefit of the doubt, articulate the issues, get feedback and validate perceptions, and develop your knowledge, skills, and networks. (For a complimentary ebook copy of The Blame Game send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred format, and for a free “Credit and Blame Type Assessment” – until May 15th – click here and enter the group code 1214 and the password 6756. For a view of a sample “Credit and Blame Type Assessment” report, click here.)
And it also may be as simple as this. Offer tons of credit, wherever and whenever you can, and do your best to shield your employees and team members from misplaced blame. If there are issues getting in the way and projects that have gone sour, they need to be addressed. Time is better spent focusing on solving the issues at hand than figuring out whose fault the issues are. Share the glory and the responsibility, and when your organization undergoes an OEA the results will be creditworthy.
Where can you share more credit? Where can you place less blame?
Share the credit. Accept the blame. Fix what needs to be fixed and move on.
For a complimentary consultation on how to offer more credit and less blame to your team, contact Lisa at email@example.com.