Leaders Do Not Take Credit

Give credit, don’t take credit

Leaders Do Not Take Credit

There was a time when I thought it was all about me.

Best selling author and speaker, John C. Maxwell, has a line I use when I meet someone who acts the way I used to act.

“But, enough about me. Let’s talk about you and what you think about me!”

That says a lot about a person, huh?

360 Degree Feedback

There is an evaluation called the 360 Degree Feedback. As one website  states, “Leaders are provided with valuable feedback from managers, coworkers, direct reports, and others who have direct experience with the Leader.”

Going through the 360 Degree Feedback evaluation is humbling to say the least. It literally airs all of your laundry, both clean and dirty. You find out the things you do well (enjoyable) and you find out the things you do not do so well (sucks). The Feedback also helps you gauge your impression of yourself versus what others think about you. I think that is called the ‘dose of reality’ section.

At the time of my 360 Degree Feedback evaluation, I was with Thomson Corp. (now Thomson Reuters) where they invested heavily in their leaders. In this case, I was sent to a three-day session to learn from my evaluation and create action steps from it.

In general, I was pleased with what I learned about myself and was open to my area of improvements along with the actions required to improve. But one thing irked me.

In one of the comments an unidentified person said I took credit for everything my team did. I was devastated (and, as it turned out, in complete denial).

When I returned to the office, I vented my frustration at the comment to my advertising director, Janet.

Janet listened patiently as I sat behind my desk and told her about my frustration regarding this “taking credit” notion. She then gave me one of the best lessons of my career.

In plain language, Janet told me the feedback was accurate. She explained to me that our team was on the move, it was a good team, but when it came to credit, I took all of it.

The color ran from my face. I was cold and sweaty at the same time. Could this be? Was I really such an idiot? The answer was, yes. I was.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you and how you can see I was such an idiot.

Leaders Do Not Take Credit

As it turns out, Janet’s bold confirmation taught me one of the most valuable lessons I learned as a leader.

Leaders do not take credit. Leaders give credit.

There is another lesson I learned on my own.

Leaders take the blame when the team fails.

Taking the blame when the team fails

This doesn’t mean that leaders put up with poor performance from their team members. But if the team gives its best effort on any given project and still fails, the leader takes the blame.

I recently read a story on ESPN’s website that reported, “New York Mets manager Terry Collins took the blame for left-hander Johan Santana‘s poor outing in the Bronx on Friday night — his first since throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history on a career-high 134 pitches a week ago.”

How can a baseball manager take the blame for a failed outing by a pitcher? Collin explained that Santana wasn’t ready, that he was rusty and that he should not have put him in.

If the manager of a Major League Baseball team can take the blame in one of the toughest media cities in the world, what can the rest of us do to take a little blame when our team fails?

Leaders do not take credit. Leaders give credit.
Leaders take the blame when the team fails.

360 Degree Evaluation as an Improvement Device

The 360 Degree Leadership evaluation is an extremely effective tool. If you are serious about improving your leadership and management skills, I highly recommend checking out the links below. If you lead a company, think about putting the evaluation into your upcoming 2013 budget for your leadership team.

Use Disqus below to answer these questions about Leadership Leaders Do Not Take Credit

What is the most difficult thing about taking the blame as a leader? How do you effectively give credit to your team?


Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.


Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello and thanks for visiting my website and blog. My blog is titled Laughing and Learning About Leadership.

I not only enjoy laughing, but I really enjoy making others laugh. I am a lifelong leaner and have been leading teams of people since I was 24 years old (earlier if you count the safety patrol in middle school and class president in high school) in the media business.

The blog posts will cover leadership from every level of leadership and management and will often touch on things that affect you each day as a leader in your line of work.

Topics such as building the right team, juicing creativity from your team, customer service, customer experience, public speaking, the use of presentation software during presentations, productivity and many other subjects will come up along the way. I hope you join each discussion and contribute to the conversation in the comments section.

Finally, this website will also give you information about booking me as a speaker and entertainer.

I have spoken and performed for small, medium sized and Fortune 500 companies over the years with guaranteed success. My many years as a media executive have provided me with the funny side and the not so fun side of the working world.

My Bio

As a kid growing up in New Jersey, I picked up the art of ventriloquism as a hobby and basically never stopped. I have so much fun entertaining audiences as a comedian and ventriloquism and certainly enjoy its present resurgence.

After college, I needed a dependable car. I found a job at my local newspaper, The Record in Hackensack, NJ. The Record is one of the most respected newspapers in the US as a family owned business in it's day. My career has taken me New York, the Midwest, Boston and greater New England. This is an extremely exciting and challenging time in the media business. My teams and I have reinvented our efforts over the past several years and our products show it.

As a speaker, I am frequently called on to speak on leadership, branding and customer service. Most recently, I have been asked to speak about personal branding for professionals. The many channels people can choose in social media require great thought in developing a personal brand.

I am very comfortable in the corporate and work environment having achieved the level of media President and Publisher in my business career. Presently, I lead teams producing newspapers, magazines, apps and websites reaching over 1 million unique visitors each month with millions of page views.

With a background as a corporate executive, many of the organizations that book me as a speaker or a comedian/ventriloquist know I understand the boundaries of good taste. They know they will not be embarrassed in front of their friends, families, colleagues, and bosses. Most especially, they know their audience will laugh and learn along with me.

With my background in leadership, media and marketing, I know also how to include a message when you, the client, request it. I can incorporate leadership, sales motivation, customer service and alike in my speech or performance. Employees, colleagues, students and business partners will come away entertained and informed.

I have been best known for my ability to include audience member information in the heart of my performance.

I have crafted my talent over many years and know how to poke fun at even the most sensitive of people while leaving them in stitches. I love to see people laugh. But, I especially love to see people laugh at themselves along with the rest of the audience.

Comedy ventriloquism holds a very unique place in the speaking and entertainment field. I am used to seeing people look a bit confused when I am introduced as a ventriloquist. Then I transform them into believers in the first three minutes of the show. Once that happens, they fasten their seat-belts and enjoy themselves.

I am available for your speaking and entertainment needs. Simply call (781) 799-4769 or e-mail today.

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