Much of my work today and the work of most leaders in higher education gets done through collaborative efforts with others. I can’t think of one major project I’ve worked on lately that hasn’t required strategic thinking and input from others, co-writing or co-editing, group planning, or team facilitation and implementation. That said, I’ve been very cognizant about the importance of giving credit to others.
When rolling out a new program, launching an event, or producing a new product or resource for leaders in our colleges and universities, I’ve found it essential to acknowledge the contributions of others. It increases transparency in the process and it generates goodwill and a sense of ownership and pride among those who have contributed to the effort.
Still, it can be easy to overlook giving credit to others.
Just last week, I was consulting with a colleague who has been editing a training handbook. The creation of the 50-page handbook has taken more than nine months in the making and has involved numerous contributing writers, editors, and proofreaders. I noticed that there was a brief acknowledgement of the committee that had led the work, but it was buried at the end of the publication. It also didn’t include the names of those who had contributed significant investment of time in writing the content, nor a mention of my colleague’s essential role either.
After our talk, my colleague moved the acknowledgements up to the inside cover of the handbook and included the names and roles of each contributor, giving them proper credit for their work.
It was a simple oversight. Yet, not giving credit to others could call into question the integrity of the project leader or the project itself.
What do you do to make sure you are giving credit where credit is due? Where might you need to think more carefully about giving credit to others?