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About Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman
Johanna consults, speaks, and writes about managing product development. She helps managers and leaders do reasonable things that work. You can read more of her writings at jrothman.com.

Leadership Tip: Give Credit as Often as Possible

Your team finished something difficult. They released it. You celebrated the team’s accomplishment with the team.

Let’s assume your name is Jim.

Now, you’re in a senior management meeting, where your  boss says, “Thanks, Jim, for all that hard work.”

You feel great from that recognition.

And yes, you supported that team. You facilitated some of their decisions. Or maybe you created the environment where the team could succeed.

Maybe you took the courage to delegate decisions to the team—even if you were nervous about those decisions.

Regardless of your role, the team delivered. Now, senior management acknowledges you.

What do you do?

Tell senior managers that the team succeeded. You say, “Thanks. The team did this. They made these difficult decisions, such as <and offer an example.> The team works quite well together. If you want, I can tell you more about how each person contributed to the work as a whole.”

Acknowledge the team’s accomplishments. Especially up the hierarchy.

When You Give Credit, You Enhance Your Reputation

When you give credit to other people you look like a star. You increase your reputation when you offer credit to others. Yes, their success reflects back on you. Often, that’s because you created the environment where they could succeed.

They succeeded, not because anyone was a 10x Developer or Manager. Instead, they succeeded because someone—or, more likely—most of the team took chances and collaborated.

Those experiments and their collaboration led to their success. And if you’re a manager, you created the environment where the team could succeed.

That’s why they succeeded.  Which is how you can explain their success.

When you offer public acknowledgment, the team is more likely to repeat the way they worked. They choose to reinforce their collaboration and teamwork. And the team will be much more loyal to you. Not out of fear, but out of respect.

All because you told other people that they did something great.

What if one person did something outstanding? Give credit to that person, too.

Give Credit to a Person

Many years ago, with my boss’s knowledge and agreement, I took on a tricky project management role. I was supposed to do my technical work and do the role, too.

I succeeded, mostly because other people realized what my goal was. (It was an overarching goal, not a personal goal.)

When senior management told my boss what a great job my boss did, she explained my role. That meant that when they needed a program manager, I got the role.

All because she offered her assessment of my work to her bosses.

Definitely a win-win.

Give Credit

Give credit as often as possible.

Practice telling more senior leaders about how well the people you lead and serve succeed. The senior leaders and the people you lead and serve will all thank you.

Want to read more? See Practical Ways to Lead and Serve (Manage) Others.

This is a part of the series of leadership tips.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Johanna Rothman , partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Leadership Tip #6: Give Credit as Often as Possible

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