Harry S Truman once said, ‘it’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit’. This is a philosophy I have always sought to abide by.
I have been privileged to hold leadership positions in many organisations. I have seen many examples of great people-centred leadership, with some bad examples too.
The bad examples are where leaders do not recognise the people who create the value. Worst still, are those leaders who seek to take credit for other’s achievements.
When leaders operate from a ‘to serve’ mindset, it means they put the needs of the people they are privileged to lead ahead of their own.
It requires a real character ethic to do this. A powerful leadership quality is humility – genuinely recognising that you are no better than others. Some of the best leaders that have inspired me have been extremely humble despite being successful. You would never know the extent of the success as they operate with humility, they remain grounded and do not let success go to their heads. They always thank the team rather than indulge in any self-gratification of accomplishments.
Some people attain leadership roles and ego can take over – the bad examples I have experienced have been where the leader needs to be the one taking the credit. If there is a single bigger trust destroying action on the part of leadership, I am yet to find it.
I believe there is real wisdom in Truman’s words, I think we could all help to build better organisations by ensuring credit is placed where it is due – when people feel they matter we build trust and start whole new cycles of success and accomplishment.