General Powell’s rule #9: Share Credit
If you are a TD in the local church, this can be difficult. If you are leading groups of technical artists to create life-changing moments through the fusion of the technical and creative arts, you spend most of your time setting people up to win, rather than doing something yourself.
As a result, it is very easy to actually not get credit for anything, let alone be given the option of sharing credit.
time of affirmation
On Saturday night, the production team sits around and after debriefing the service, we have the “Time of Affirmation”, where people talk about great things they noticed other people doing. There are 2 constants in this part of the meeting. The first one is that someone has to say “Best monitors ever.” It doesn’t matter if they were or not, but we all feel guilty that no one ever says anything to the monitor engineer.
The other, less obvious constant, is that I never get affirmed. If someone starts their affirmation with “Todd…”, it usually means that our amazing volunteer stage manager also named Todd, is in the meeting.
I don’t bring this up so that my team can start making me feel better by making up a bunch of crap on how my contribution made a difference in the service. I bring it up because it is secretly my goal, which lines up with this particular rule of Colin Powell.
As a leader, I view it as my job to set up my team to succeed. My goal is to make sure the way is clear for people to do what they do best. I don’t always do a great job of this, but when things are going right, I hope to never take the credit.
I have a pretty healthy respect for my own lack of ability and I know that most of what I am involved with wouldn’t be happening without the amazing people around me. I am happy to share credit all day long. Without a great team, it doesn’t matter how good I am; none of it would happen.
On the flip side, when things go wrong, it is probably due to the team not being set up to win, and therefore I take the credit for those things.
If you are a person who grasps at the credit for all the good things, people know it. The people that work for you know that you hog the spotlight and the people that are above you will eventually see through your shallow grabbing at all the glory.
Also on the flip side, if you are taking responsibility when things are not going well, the people that work for you will know that you have their back, and the people you work for will know that you aren’t the type to throw your team under the bus.
Not getting credit is the reality of a leader, especially a TD. The best type of leader is one who is comfortable enough in their role to keep giving the credit away.
Next up: #10 Remain calm. Be kind.