Few things can crush a spirit more than the issue I’m about to discuss here.

Imagine getting assigned to a project that you’ve been dreaming about getting, and you then pour your heart and soul into it. When it’s complete, you step back and look at what you’ve done with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. You’re proud of what you were able to do. And rightly so.

So the big-wigs hear about this cool new thing going on, and inquire about it. You can sense their pleasure with your new masterpiece!

Then it happens…

While standing at your desk with the executives gushing over your work, your boss speaks up and takes every bit of credit for the work that you’ve done. Then to add insult to injury, the executives congratulate your boss on a job well done, and then never even glance in your direction again.

This actually happened to me, twice.

Both times I felt absolutely miserable. I don’t think I can recall any time in my professional life that I’ve felt so small and unappreciated. Most of us have probably been in this boat at one time in our lives.

Why is this so common? Because people, generally speaking, are selfish. So we can probably wrap up this post by saying, “don’t be selfish” and call it a day.

However, as I continue to look at Deborah in the Book of Judges (chapters 4 and 5), the next thing that I notice is that Deborah gave credit where credit was due.

In Judges 4:15, we first notice that the text is very clear about how the battle was won. Barak went out with 10,000 men following him into a battle that he was largely outmatched for, and the text then states that, “the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army.”

Granted, I recognize that Barak was there, but it’s important to notice that it must have been obvious that it was the Lord that caused them to succeed.

But it’s what happens after the battle was won that I find most interesting.

Deborah and Barak sang to the Lord (chapter 5), and did an amazing thing. They gave thanks and praise to the Lord for winning that battle. In other words, they gave credit where the credit was due.

You may also notice that Deborah even recognizes the efforts of the “commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly”. Basically she gave credit up and down the chain of command. She gave credit to everywhere it was due.

They could not have won that battle without either of those important elements, and Deborah recognized them both in her song and praises. But you’ll also notice that Deborah never once took credit herself even though she had to lead them into battle.

Questions to consider:

  • What victories are happening right now in your organization?
  • How can you give credit up the chain of command?
  • How do you think that attitude will affect other people in the organization? I’d bet that it would help to create an atmosphere of respect for superiors.
  • Considering those same successes, how can you give credit down the chain of command?
  • How do you think this will affect the attitude of the people you work with?
  • Finally, how can you act in a completely selfless way, and avoid taking any credit yourself?
  • If you do this, does it help or hurt your image as a leader in your organization?

See more from the management by God series!

[management by God] give credit where credit is due

by Dan King time to read: 3 min