Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States, really got it right when he provided this bit of career advice: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
Many years ago I was assigned a joint project with a deadbeat for a partner. This guy was bad. He was a triple threat – not so bright, a big ego and lazy. As the project wore on and we were nearing a deadline, I thought about going to my boss and complaining that he wasn’t carrying his weight. I decided not to do so.
I slogged on, got the project done well and on time and submitted it – with his name and mine on the finished product. I was feeling kind of resentful, because I was worried that even though I did all the work, he was getting half of the credit.
A couple weeks later, our boss called me into his office. He said that he wanted to compliment me on the fine job I did on the project. I bit my tongue and said, “Gil and I worked on that project together.” My boss said, “I know Gil’s work, and I know your work. I could tell that you did all of the work on that project.”
I said, “Thanks for noticing.” He said, “I assigned you that joint project as a bit of a test. I wanted to see how well you could work with others. I figured you would get frustrated with Gil because I knew he wasn’t up to doing quality work on this kind of project. I wanted to see what you would do. You did the work, and didn’t rat out Gil. I’m proud of you for that.”
We can debate his leadership style here; I don’t think it’s a good idea to treat the people who work for you as lab rats. But this story makes an interesting point about the career advice in Success Tweet 98. Do your job. Do it well. Don’t worry about who gets credit.
It’s been my experience that people in positions of authority can identify good work when they see it; and that they can differentiate the work of the people who report to them. If you consistently produce high-quality work and results, you will get your due.
Take it from this career success coach. Focus on getting the job done – well and on time—and you will get the recognition due you in the long run. And creating life and career success is a long run – a marathon, not a sprint. As the old saying goes, “The cream rises to the top.”
Delivering high-quality work, consistently and in the long run, will get you noticed and help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. Stay focused on your work, get creative with your ideas. Make sure you cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s and you’ll succeed.
The common sense success point here is simple. Successful people deliver high-quality work, consistently and over the long run. They follow the career advice in Tweet 98 in Success Tweets. “Don’t worry about getting credit for doing the job. Worry about getting the job done well – accurately and on time.” Most leaders recognize the output of the people who work for them. That’s why it’s important to focus on doing a good job on every job – no matter how small. You’ll be building your brand and portfolio in your manager’s mind. In the long run, producing consistently high-quality work is the best way to get the recognition due you.