Ever gone to a meeting and listened with dismay as a client took credit for your best ideas? Or maybe you’ve had to sit through a project wrap-up session in which your team’s effort was marginalzed and someone on the client side snagged the kudos for a job well done.
It’s hard not to fume when your hard work is pilfered. What do you do? Confront the idea thief? Ask the credit grabber to give your team a plug?
Your best option is to bite your tongue and say nothing. Why? I call it the Rule of Client Credit: By giving up the credit, you actually earn credit (and more business).
In any client meeting, you can be certain that the key people in the room know where the ideas they’re hearing came from. Sure, not everyone will get it, but those who matter most will. The same holds true for letting others have the glory for a project’s outcome. The right people are aware that they couldn’t have done it without you.
Instead of demanding equal tribute, allow your clients time in the spotlight. That selfless behavior will earn you something more valuable than short-term gratification: Respect and trust. Besides, you reap other rewards. The most obvious is that you get paid. Plus, you’re doing work you want to do (or you should be).
Of course, you can’t always follow the Rule of Client Credit. It’s not a good idea, for example, to stand by while someone mangles or misrepresents your ideas. In that case, you have to speak up and clarify–for the client’s sake.
For the most part, though, you’ll find that you benefit from letting clients take the credit. That’s not always easy on the ego, but it’s likely to lead to a stronger client relationships and more work. Isn’t that more important?