Question: I am part of a team working within my company. One of the members of this team is always getting the credit when we succeed. I don’t know what to do about this frustrating situation.
Answer: The most successful teams are those where no one is seeking the glory and each team member supports the others in every way possible. No one ever says, “That’s not my job.” When the team wins everyone wins. And conversely, a team loss is everyone’s loss. It’s not a single team member who is the hero or the goat.
I love going to restaurants where members of the wait staff cover for each other. One server may take my order but another re-fills my water glass when it’s empty. I always am hopeful that they share their gratuities because I feel as though I’m tipping the whole server team and not just one person. Contrast that with a restaurant where servers ignore all guests except those who they are serving directly. Southwest Airlines is also on my most-admired list. How many times have we seen flight attendants and pilots cleaning up the airplane as we deplane?
Unselfishness is an important element to the success of an entrepreneur. Hats off to those who make certain that members of their team are recognized and given credit for a successful outcome. An entrepreneur who can step back out of the limelight and heap accolades on his or her team is both wise and self-assured. When we crave attention and receive for the efforts of others, team morale can be severely damaged.
The question we must answer is, “what are we in it for?” Is it personal glory or gain? Or is it long-term, sustainable overall success that benefits an entire team or company? I submit that when our egos cry for personal attention and pats on the back, someday our team may not have our back. There will certainly be times when we are recognized for personal achievement and there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever. The fine line here is our intention and how we handle it. Did we seek the recognition or was it a byproduct of our efforts? And, when the wonderful things were being said about us, did we acknowledge others who contributed to our (and the team’s) success? But this can be a trap if we aren’t walking the talk. It’s interesting to watch a ball game where a star player is being interviewed at the conclusion of the event and he appears to deflect the praise by mentioning how much his teammates figured into his success. The incongruence in his statement is that his play throughout the game reflected selfishness.
Whether in our entrepreneurial venues or with life in general, we are best served when we subordinate our egos to an attitude of gracious selflessness. Stepping off the stage and genuinely giving credit to others who deserve it is a demonstration of real star power.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.