“It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” ~Harry S. Truman

You and your team worked hard on that last project.  You spent many hours after work, and even came in on the weekends to get it finished on time and under budget.  You neglected your family during this time because this project had many positive implications for you if everything went well.  And it did go well.

You then presented it to your Manager, who thought you did a great job. He then presented it to the VP, and lo and behold, the Manager took most of the credit for the project, even though he (or she) barely made an appearance.

Excuse me? The Manager took the credit?

Has this ever happened to you? I know I have seen it happen a number of times through the years.  It could happen any number of ways, with the Project Manager taking all the credit for a team effort, or the loud boisterous employee taking credit for the shy one who did the work but hates self-promotion.

Great Managers know that giving credit where credit is due is an essential part of being an exceptional leader. They know that giving credit will create an atmosphere where people will want to work with, and for that leader. It is an art form that builds up the team and lets them know they are appreciated for their hard work, which will not go unnoticed. It builds loyalty, trust and motivation.

A few tips to remember:

  • Praise in public. While it is good to give praise or credit in a one-on-one meeting, it is so much more effective when done in front of one’s peers.
  • Different personalities require different approaches. Some employees with large personalities pursue credit and praise even when they don’t deserve it, while shy, introverted employees avoid the spotlight at all costs, even if they did the majority of the work. Effective leaders make sure they know who did what so they can spread the credit where it is rightfully deserved. Make sure you recognize someone even if their contribution was not as considerable as others.
  • Recognize those who recognize others. It is a positive quality that often goes unnoticed. It is a trait you want to see when considering promotions or raises.
  • Don’t give credit to those who don’t deserve it. There will be some team members who did more than others. And some who did nothing. A great leader knows the difference.
  • Don’t be stingy with the credit. There is an unlimited supply to go around for those who deserve it.
  • Be creative with your credit. While words of praise or credit may be very good, consider more creative ways to show your appreciation such as presenting the employee with a certificate or small gift that can be used at work. This way, every time the person sees the gift on their desk, or the certificate on the wall, they will remember what it is for.
  • Give credit in formal appraisals. Mention the special projects in a yearly or bi-yearly review. It shows your team you don’t forget the important things they did all year.

Giving credit where and when it is due will create an atmosphere that will make people want to come to work for you, knowing they will get the proper recognition. Trying to do this every day lets people know their hard work is being noticed and appreciated. People will always work harder when they feel valued.

What are some of the unique ways you give credit to your teams? Don’t hesitate to list them in the comments below!

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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