“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
~Harry S. Truman

“I can’t believe my boss took credit for my ideas,” my client said to me the other day during a coaching session. “She asked me for my thoughts, debated my suggestions, and then brought them up in her boss’s meeting…as if they were her own!”

I sat in silence with my client as she sat with her feelings. There wasn’t a whole lot I could offer that could take the sting out of the situation. “That’s bad,” I finally offered. “That’s really bad. How can I support you?”

“Remember when we were talking about that other team in the department that I was possibly interested in,” my client answered. “Let’s talk more about how I move onto that team.”

And so, with that taking of credit, my client’s boss added on to the other issues that my client was facing in her current position and sealed the deal on losing the commitment of my client. And lost my client to another team.

Taking credit away from someone else, or not sharing credit, is a surefire way to alienate yourself. And sharing credit is a great way to bring someone onto your side and build trust.

When we fight for credit, or argue for turf, we pit ourselves against those we’re working with, and we risk losing their committed energy and engagement with our project…and with us. When we remove our need for credit (and our need to assign blame too), our willingness to share the glory of deeds well done makes those around us want to be a part of making those deeds well done happen.

If I remember not to think of my own success, but instead to focus on the success of the project or the team, I don’t get waylaid by my need to look good. I, instead, find myself giving my all to the task at hand, and happily joining into team discussions and efforts.

It makes sense to want credit for our contributions. Credit and praise feel good, and we all need a little booster every now and then (and we all want to look good in front of our boss, and our boss’s boss). But a need for credit, and even worse, a need to steal credit from someone else, often saps the project and the team of energy and accomplishments.

How have you shared credit? When have you not?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

If you want to get better at sharing credit, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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