Leaders that are looking to shine through their own hard work, perseverance and positive attitude are never looking for the spotlight. Those that are looking to get credit (or worse “take credit”) are those that waste their time doing this rather than getting their hands dirty doing any work. I remember a terrible example of someone trying to steal credit in my professional life. Our organization had just had a new management team come in and the leadership team was going around the room explaining roles, responsibilities and some quick accomplishments of programs in each of their divisions. As we went around the room, another department head who had been overtly insecure in her new job role proceeded to take credit for a program that I had been intricate in developing. I had helped to lead a team of professionals who had been dedicated and focused on one thing – getting the work done. That’s all, simply just getting the work at hand done and done well.
I had helped to facilitate this great group of people from multiple disciplines. The hard work was spread amongst this team from beginning through to the end with so many people that I was grateful for having on my team. One person (afformentioned newly appointed manager) came in about 75% of the way through the project and took a whole lot of credit for doing very little of the work. One of my colleagues who had known just how much work this person did for the project was outraged, even more than I was or at least should have been. I mean her jaw literally dropped wide open when this other manager had the audacity to call the project “her baby”.
What was quite enlightening about this experience was that I had not even thought about all of the work and leadership that had gone on in that room with all of those people until the very moment someone was looking to take credit for it all – all on her own. It also did not dawn on me that this well orchestrated project that actually came to fruition was as rare a commodity in some organizations. And it’s rarity is quite simply due to this phenomenon of people scavenging around for that ultimate spotlight.
Now at that point in my life I had so much going on that I was literally too busy for this to have bothered me as much as it could have really irked someone else in my exact predicament. I calmly stated to my colleague that if the team that I was working with were running around worrying about who was going to get the credit or who in the organization would notice our work, none of the work would have gotten done. If we were worried about changing the lightbulb in the spotlight that was about to shine on us, surely nothing would have been accomplished. Decisions would have lagged on and those ideas that were born in the boardroom, would have died there as well. So my advice is to continue doing what needs to be done, for the sake of the work at hand. Be so entrenched in the work that you do not even bother to realize who may get the credit and accolades.
I will leave you with some great quotes to contemplate on the art of leading while not worrying about “taking” credit…Just a reminder, these quotes are left here not to change you, but to change your thinking and perspective. Thanks for reading and thank you for sharing! Have a great day and do great things!
“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” –Arnold Glasow
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” –Rosalynn Carter
“There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” –Indira Gandhi