Taking Credit & Your Personal Brand


“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”

John Wooden

Early in my career I worked with a guy, let's call him Sam, who was forever positioning himself as the man with the best ideas, the most flawless execution and the highest intelligence in the room. People who worked for Sam felt their contributions were marginalized and those who worked with Sam felt he would take credit for everything they did.

He was exhausting.

Beyond the "ownership" issue, Sam was also one of the least effective leaders I've ever met.  Because he wanted everyone to recognize his importance, he ended up being the butt of hallway conversations. He was the subject of  snide remarks in the vein of  the Al "I-invented-the-internet" Gore jokes.  It wasn't that people thought he was a bad person, they just couldn't take him seriously because of his need to always be in the center of the action.

What Sam didn't realize was his behavior was establishing a personal brand where others saw him as...

  1. Insecure
  2. Selfish
  3. Untrustworthy

The amazing thing, to those of us who knew Sam, was how utterly clueless he was about his reputation. He would have been shocked (SHOCKED!) to know this is how people viewed him. His blind spot was staggering.

However easy it is to see the damage from Sam's need for taking credit, the risk applies to anyone determined to promote their achievements. Taking credit, even on small things, is risky behavior.

Think about it this way - isn't it better for someone to acknowledge your contribution based on their own observations rather than having to ask for acknowledgement?

Instead of proving your value, taking credit cheapens your role.   It's the equivalent of asking for a compliment (which, we all know, is a "no-no.")

Don't push for the 'atta boy.  You'll be doing your brand a favor (and probably accomplishing more too!)