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Magic Mic

Truth be told, I've never watched this movie. I'm sure it has an amazing storyline, and that's what brought you to this post.

And no, the title is not a typo.

And yes, this post has to do with leadership.

I've spent the past ten years curiously observing and studying leadership. Young leaders, seasoned leaders, natural leaders, terrible leaders. There are a few qualities and practices that distinguish exceptional leaders - and one of those practices has been quoted by many amazing leaders including John Maxwell, Andrew Carnegie, and Billy Kenoi: "Exceptional leaders take blame and give credit".

Today I'm thinking about the Magic Mic.

Leaders are often in positions to speak on behalf of their organizations - whether at a press conference, giving a keynote at a luncheon or community event, or receiving an award or recognition for "their work". When handed the Magic Mic, exceptional leaders always spend the great majority of their time recognizing others. They step up to the mic and give voice and awareness to those whose voices would otherwise never be heard and they shine the spotlight on the work of those that would otherwise never be seen. They are generous with their recognition, even considering the sacrifice and support of partners, spouses, and children of those on their team. Exceptional leaders understand this is not a mere courtesy or demonstration of humility, but a critical role and responsibility of leadership.

I've found that in an organizational culture where people own their "mistakes", learn from the experience, and move on, innovation flourishes. I've also witnessed the magic that happens - loyalty, buy-in, and solidarity - when leaders give credit to and recognize their workforce publicly and frequently.

I recently attended the Exchange Club of Hilo's award luncheon where Darryl Oliveira was honored in their Book of Golden Deeds for his work leading the community through Tropical Storm Iselle, the 2014 lava flow and the Dengue Fever outbreak. His acceptance speech is a perfect illustration of the Magic Mic. (Fast forward to 43 minutes into the video.)


Giving credit to others is





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