Over the past couple of years, I’ve been coaching a lot of really smart, early career professionals about how to advance their career. The concept of “letting go of who gets credit” is fequently at the heart of these conversations. So, I decided to dust off this short post from August 2012 and share it as a reminder for all of us.
Getting Credit is Overrated
Early in my career, I used to get really wrapped up in getting credit for every idea and every bit of work I did. I desperately wanted to be recognized for my contributions and my “brilliant” ideas. I got so angry when a manager or coworker would take “my idea” and claim it as their own.
Here’s the thing about getting credit. Credit doesn’t matter unless things get done. I’ve seen too many times where people get so wrapped up in arguing over who gets credit that they forget that none of it matters unless the results happen.
My trajectory in my career changed for the better when I quit worrying about getting credit. Here’s what I discovered.
- Your brilliant idea is more likely to become a brilliant reality when a group of people all feel like it’s their idea. So, if you really want to get things done, be generous about giving away your ideas.
- Yes, it sucks when someone else steals your idea. But, idea stealers know where their best “sources” of ideas come from. So, realize that when your boss claims your idea as his own, it’s a weird sort of job security and shake it off.
- People get promoted based on what they can get done, not on how many great ideas they have. Everyone has ideas, it’s the ability to turn ideas (yours and others) into results that is truly valuable.
Getting credit is about validation and recognition for most people. The faster path to both of these things isn’t to fight over credit for ideas, it’s to get important stuff done. Let go of credit and commit your energy to making things happen. If you do, plenty of credit will come your way without you having to worry about it.