Do you know how to tell a good manager? Don’t look at the size of their office, the brand of their car or the title on their business card. Instead, listen to the way they talk about their team.

Good managers consistently promote their teams. And they do it in a heartfelt way. They honestly believe in their people and they give them credit for the work they do. They aren’t credit hogs.

Dick managers seem to forget that their teams did most of the hard work. They will actively steal credit for the work their team does. They feel that if they don’t claim credit, people will think they did nothing.

What’s the big deal about credit? Early in my career, I was told my team’s success was my success, so I should take the credit for the work they turned out.

This is half true: my team’s success is my success. I manage the team, so if I’m a good communicator, if I support each team member, if I set clear goals and measure progress and inspire innovation and the team performs well, then I am successful.

But my team deserves the credit for the work they do. And a manager gracious enough to give credit to their team shows that they’re secure in their role and they respect their team members.

They know employees aren’t paid only in money, but that praise and recognition are equally—and sometimes more—important.

Good managers will tell their bosses and peers when their teams have done well. They will mention individual team members by name. They will be proud of their people, and as a result, they will look like seasoned, accomplished managers.

Bonus: their teams will find out the boss has been saying nice things about them, which will inspire them to continue to excel and to be loyal to their generous manager.

Dick managers will talk about how they solved a problem or exceeded a goal or hit a milestone. They will downplay the role their team played. Truly awful managers will suggest that they were successful despite their teams, that they had to overcome the shortcomings of their team members in order to be successful.

These managers look immature, petty and insecure. They look like bad managers. If their team isn’t doing work that’s good enough to deserve credit, who’s fault is that? The manager’s, of course.

And guess what? Their teams will find out what the boss has been saying too, but they’ll find out that the boss is a credit hog, which will make them feel diminished and unrewarded. And they won’t bother knocking themselves out the next time. Not exactly an example of inspirational leadership.

So if you’re a good manager, show it by praising your team when they perform well. Single out individuals who excel and let the accolades that come with success inspire your team on to even greater heights.


To learn more about how to be a successful manager, read Don’t Be a Dick Manager: The Down & Dirty Guide to Management. It’s the management training you never got, available on Kindle and in paperback from The audiobook is available from AmazonAudible and iTunes.

Do you think you might be a dick manager? Take the quiz!