from A Leader’s Journey – Scott Cochrane, Vice-President, Willow Creek Association (Chicago)

It happened again this week.

I was on the phone discussing a new initiative with a leader, when all of a sudden he used one of the well-worn leadership axioms, “Just think what our team could accomplish if no one cares who gets the credit.”

That quote is usually attributed to Harry Truman. Well, both Truman and this leader who quoted him are wrong – it really does matter who gets the credit.

The sentiment underlying the statement is noble enough. The idea is that we don’t want our cultures to be infected by grandstanding players, vying for individual attention. I get that.

But the idea that you, as a leader, ought to be unaware as to who keeps coming up with your team’s best ideas is not in the best interest of your team, your culture, or your leadership.

It really does matter who gets the credit.

You need to know the relative strengths of your team players. You need to know who it is that is consistently, and disproportionately generating initiatives that are creating the most “wins” for your church or organisation. And for that to happen, it needs to be “okay” in your culture for those top performers to be recognised.

They need to get the credit.

Jack Welch calls this “differentiation”. Welch puts it this way, “Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top and bottom performing businesses and people.”

If you have bought into the idea that “it doesn’t matter who gets the credit” step back and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I know who is generating our best ideas?
  • Do I know who is launching our most successful initiatives?
  • Do I know who is producing the most results?

If you do, give them the credit. The whole team will ultimately benefit if credit is given where credit is due.

How do you recognise the contributions of your people?

A Leader’s Journey – Scott Cochrane




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