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Giving Credit

| April 12, 2016

by Jim Bruce

Today’s Tuesday Reading, Giving Credit, is an essay by Anna Lynch, Manager, Online Instructional Design, eLearning Design & Services, and Julie Parmenter, Manager, Enterprise Decision Support Services, at Indiana University’s University Information Technology Services.
Many of us at Indiana University attended the Information Technology Statewide Conference last fall where we heard CIO Brad Wheeler and IU President Michael McRobbie speak at the closing session. They reflected on many important initiatives that have moved IU forward during Dr. McRobbie’s tenure first as CIO and later as IU’s president. Having worked for the technology organization during Dr. McRobbie’s tenure as our Vice President, we have heard him speak a number of times. We have noticed that when he is asked about the results of an important initiative, he always begins by giving credit to the people and teams who were involved in that effort. We have always admired him for that trait. It has been central to our opinion of him as a leader who is not only interested in his personal success but is also interested in making a path for his colleagues to rise around him.
Some might believe that giving credit to others deflects from the credit which is due to them as the leader of the initiative. We believe that just the opposite is true. When you publicly recognize the achievements of subordinates, it raises your credibility as a leader as it shows that you are surrounded by strong teams. These teams can be trusted to carry out difficult initiatives with minimal support as well as assist you in assessing complex problems and avoiding errors in judgment (which is always easier with more brains in the room).
To encourage you to give credit, here are three tips:

· Recognize people who themselves give others credit. 
· Look for the quiet contributors and make sure that they are recognized.
· Remember that there is plenty of credit to go around; people are contributing in large and small ways every day.

Watching others giving credit provides a powerful lesson to all of us. The mark of a leader is whether she has followers. Notice that people follow leaders who show that they care about the success of their followers. Giving credit to your colleagues is an easy way to show this.
Anna and Julie give everyone of us good advice.  Do consider adding the practice of giving credit to your list of practices.  When you observe someone on your team or elsewhere who has delivered good results, acknowledge it, being as specific as you possibly can.  Remember the Maya Angelou quotation:  “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Go make someone feel really good today by telling them about the good work they are doing.
Make it a great week.  .  .  .     jim
Jim Bruce is a Senior Fellow and Executive Coach at MOR Associates, and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, and CIO, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.