In principle, a good team is a group of people who try to make each other look good. Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing how much we can do if we don’t care who gets the credit.” Similarly, we can spend huge amounts of energy caring about who gets the blame. To make good group decisions we support each other going forward and we give credit for success to the group.
Practical Tip: Give your ideas and efforts to the group, without conditions, without lingering ownership. Show public appreciation for others in your group. Own your share of things gone wrong and share credit with others for things gone right.
– Craig Freshley
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3 thoughts on “Make others look good”
How very true. Many spend far too much time in trying to make sure they get credit for anything they have been involved with and directing blame to others for what has not worked. Everyone should take reponsibility for the success as well as the failures. Enjoy the success and learn from the failures.
I’m struck by the similarity between this advice for making a working group function well and the advice of improvisational theater teacher Keith Johnstone. Keith writes that one of the secrets to being a good improviser is to focus on making your scene partner look good. If you’re concentrating on doing that you’ll take away a lot of the anxiety that comes with trying to make yourself look good. As a result you’ll end up making better work. I thought this was an interesting parallel.
In another life, I was VP of Administration of a Life Insurance Company. In that capacity, I chaired two Committees: the Steering Committee, made up of Senior Officers, and the Implementation Committee made up of First Line Supervisors.
The former, was the most cut-throat ego-driven body, with everyone vying for the best arrangement for their Department, or the products or systems they were most interested in ~ they did not care about each other, just how they could get their own way. They were not particularly effective, and required a lot of effort on my part to reign in power plays, and try to get to what was best for the Company.
The later was the most well run group I have ever experienced. The members cared for each other. They wanted to understand the needs of each other, and they were never satisfied to win, individually, if it meant that one of their team-members would lose. We did some incredible things together!! They knew I was always looking out for their collective best interests, and they would try anything I asked, because they trusted me, and knew I would do anything in my power to assure their success.It was never about credit ~ it was about mutual respect.