“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasgow
You and your project team just completed the most challenging project ever undertaken in the history of your organization. It is definitely time to celebrate. And recognition for this accomplishment is definitely in order. How much credit should you take for the work performed by your team? Consider the following statements.
- “It was a close call, but I was able to lead them to success. I am glad I was available to make things happen.”
- “The team did all of the work, I just stayed out of their way.”
- “It was an honor to lead such a dedicated team of high-performing, consummate professionals.”
Depending on the situation, you might really find some truth in each of the above comments. Maybe you were brought in to lead a team who was in disarray and needed strong leadership (1) or perhaps they were a high performing team and needed very little guidance (2) or it really was a situation where the leadership and the team were all committed to the success of the project (3). This is a time to really think about how you discuss the success of the project and the work performed by your team.
Statement 1 puts you front and center in the success story. The team could not have done it without you. You are taking the opportunity to promote your skill as a leader over the contributions of your team. You are one step away from saying that they are not competent without you. Next time they will absolutely want to work without you. And by trying to brag about what an amazing leader you are, you are showing that just the opposite is true.
Statement 2 promotes the team but is a little too self-deprecating. If all you did was stay out of the way, then why were you necessary at all? You do not work for free and now your salary seems like an unnecessary project expense. Next time let’s run the project without a project manager, or at least without you.
Statement 3 shows that you know that your team members are amazing. You point out that you feel fortunate to have worked with them and you are truthfully acknowledging your role as the leader. With a statement like this, you are associating yourself with other top performers. You are not taking the spotlight away from them and you are not making light of your contribution. You are the right choice for future projects and teams of this caliber.
Think before you take credit for the team. Because you do not really want to take credit FROM the team, you want to give the team credit for their hard work and take some credit WITH the team. That is how strong leaders acknowledge team success.