A couple of nights ago, I got a call around 2 a.m. from my 15-year-old son. Before you get on me for letting my son roam the streets at 2 in the morning, I need to defend myself and tell you that he was at his dad’s house that night. I was off duty. Anyway, I get this call at 2:08 a.m. and the kid is stranded at a park that is about 2 miles from my house and 3 miles from his dad’s house. In a nutshell, the buddy who was driving my son home after a movie decided to drop by a cute girl’s house for a few minutes, which turned into “let’s go to the park” – yes, in the middle of the night – to “hang out.” My son was bored; he didn’t want to get in trouble with his dad; and to be totally truthful, he was irritated with his buddy for ditching him for a chick, so I got the call.
Before you get on me for bailing him out or instructing me to lecture him, I wanted to give this scenario as an example of leaving your buddies behind for a passing girl is not cool. Well in the same sense, leaving your teammate out to dry isn’t cool either. I learned early in my career that it sucks to be “thrown under the bus.” Yes, that is what we called it when a peer blamed you for something that went wrong.
If you think about a football team, no one person can carry the team to a win. Yes, there are leaders, but unless everyone is moving forward in a clear and concise direction, the team will lose. A running back can’t score the winning touchdown without the hand-off from the quarterback. The quarterback can’t hand the ball off without the center hiking it, nor without his lineman to protect him from the other team. Get my point? So why is okay for a peer to throw another peer out to dry? It really isn’t.
Like so many teams, there are always going to be personality conflict. You can have the best team ever, but not everyone is going to get along every day, every minute. This is the reality of have different personalities. Good leadership helps drive the team in a clear direction, but it also comes down to you. Whether in a meeting or via email, other people notice snide remarks or uncomfortable innuendos. Others also notice when you say “I” a lot. As in, “I finished the project” or “I had a good idea” or “I rock.” What works better is “we finished the project” or “Mark had a great idea and we flushed it out.”
Giving others credit will most often reflect positively on you. For one, your team mates will respect and trust you and two, you will make others feel good about their contribution. You might be surprised at how giving others credit makes you feel good. There is no need to toot your own horn. There is no need to leave your buddy stranded either.
If you are worried about that teammate who takes all the credit or takes advantage of you – don’t be. Trust your leadership; they know who is a valuable employee.
P.S. I did give the lecture on nothing good happens at 2 a.m. and don’t do it again. A mom is never truly off duty.