Respecting Creative Labor

A few weeks ago, I was presenting some programming ideas in a meeting, and I was sharing an idea that a colleague came up with.

“And for this part of the day – and this idea wasn’t mine. It was P.’s idea. And it’s really good — we’ll…”

Simple, right?

After that meeting, P. pulled me aside.

“Hey. Thank you for crediting me with that idea in the group. That doesn’t happen often. I really appreciated that.”

It should happen often. It should happen all the time.

Other people’s ideas are their creative labor. And if you’re going to be a good collaborator — if you’re going to be a good leader — you have to respect the creative labor of other people.

What does that look like? Crediting people with their ideas in group settings. Including them in the execution of their ideas during implementation. Thanking them after an idea’s successful. Including them in the post-mortem about the idea for development.

This doesn’t cost you anything. But it forges deep and trusting collaborative relationships.

Demonstrating that you are mindful about who’s doing generative work — even if they’re not the ones executing those ideas — demonstrates that you respect the people you work with, that you respect the risk and effort of collaboration.