Teams Succeed, Leaders Fail.

23 05 2016

“George Bush taking credit for the wall coming down is like the rooster taking credit for the sun rising.” ~ Al Gore (The man who took credit for inventing the internet) J

I usually steer away from political discussion, but I wanted to get to the root of the quote, so I took a jab at the other side to keep it balanced.  I was stationed in Germany, guarding the Fulda Gap from millions of Communists from behind the curtain, who had the potential of invading at any minute (or so said or commanders).  Then the wall came down, and I was front and center in the middle of amazing world change.  I remember things from the other side of the wall being for sale in local markets.  You could buy Soviet Guard hats for $10.  That made me wonder what new, amazing things were on sale in markets on the other side of the wall.  I don’t care if it was Reagan, Bush, Gore or anyone else who took credit for it.  The amazing things that happened after that achievement (and the sudden drop in the likelihood of WWIII) are what matters.  I wanted to use the quote, because the concept of “taking credit” is a tremendous teaching opportunity.

Leaders, remember that it’s not the credit, but the results that count when you’re pushing an organizational change.  The vision behind some amazing improvement may indeed have been yours, but remember that you probably had many subject matter experts on your team pushing with you to make that change.  Be sure that when it’s time for the credit of the achievement to be given, that you share it with your team.  Remember:  Teams succeed.  Leaders fail.  Give the praise, and take the blame.  Do that, and when there’s another (nearly impossible) initiative for your team to take on, they’ll give a lot more energy knowing that they’ll get credit, and they’ll also work harder so that you aren’t in a position to have to take the blame.  It’s an amazing leadership concept, so I thank Mr. Gore for the quote that spurred the concept (and for the internet J ).

Speaking of roosters…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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