As a leader do you push credit down to your team, or do you keep it all?
As John Maxwell points out, when you try and keep others down, you go down with them. But, when you pull others up, you go up with them. This is a great example of pushing credit down. Leaders that get credit for work the team does but do not share it, or do not give credit when a team member has done something extra are missing the boat.
Years ago when I was a helicopter pilot in the Army, I worked for a commander who stood in front of over 200 officers that flew under his command. He was accepting an award for the unit, who flew 10,000+ hours of flight time, incident-free (no small feat in that environment). The Two-Star General presenting the award, made the obligatory comments about what a good job this Colonel had done leading us and promoting safe operations. There was no doubt he deserved this credit.
At the same time, the General talked about the dedication of the team and gave the Colonel every chance to “PUSH THE CREDIT DOWN” to us for actually doing the safe flying.
When it came time for the Colonel to speak, all he did was thank the General, then proceeded to talk about how committed he was to safety. It was clear he was not committed to pulling up his troops or pushing credit down.
As the formation disbanded, I heard the General lean over to him and suggest that just maybe, those 200 pilots standing out there had a little something to do with HIS award!
Here are a couple of tips to push credit down the chain to the team:
- Be sincere – Your team members will spot a phony in a nano second.
- Send a personal, hand-written thank you note. It gives them a chance to share it with their family!
- Call them on the phone and say “thank you!”
- If they really went over the top, tell YOUR boss and have him or her find the person and thank them. They will then know you “brag on them” when they are not around.
If your team wins, you win! Push the credit down the chain and see how far UP everyone (including you) can go!