07/25/2013 01:17 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2013

Give Credit to Others

Inflated egos sometimes -- often -- result in presidents seeking to garner the credit for everything that happens on their watch. Of course, those same egos lead presidents all too often to shun responsibility when things don't go according to plan.

Gathering credit for oneself is foolish. I have never understood why others don't understand that giving credit is both right and smart.

By sharing the glory of a success, presidents simply encourage those with whom they work to put in greater effort. I was not always successful in giving credit to others, whether publicly or at board meetings. Yet, I always tried to do so.

I guess it is human nature to try to take credit for any and everything. Presidents, though, are supposed to be intelligent individuals, and intelligent people recognize that giving credit to others is a wonderful way to get the most out of those with whom you work.

Sometimes, of course, giving credit to others is not something they want. When I suggested, over the objections of my staff and a trustee who was the head of one of the world's largest ad agencies, placing fundraising advertisements in national newspapers, those individuals wanted nothing to do with the ads -- even after they helped develop them. The ads, fortunately, did precisely what I hoped they would. However, just to be sure no one would be incensed at the thought of using college funds in this way, my wife and I paid for the advertisements.

Whenever something good happens while you are president will, at least for the moment, be viewed as your success. Why not enhance that success by giving credit to others? In the process, you will be motivating those with whom you work to do more for the institution -- and, by extension, you. As is rightly noted, but rarely followed, there is always enough credit to go around.

You should make sure to give credit to others whenever possible. It is your best currency, and you should spend it freely, wisely, and well.