I received a really great email today from my client, giving me praise for leadership and execution. I've said before that I don't generally seek out validation, but it sure feels great to get it when it does come. It probably doesn't come enough, even if I'm not willing to admit that. As good as it may feel, sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, especially in a leadership position where I feel my job is to serve the people and process to move things forward.
That said, my response was largely to defer the positive feedback to the team. While I generally find myself adapting my views on everything over time, the one thing that I keep reinforcing is that you and your success are only as good as the people around you. Being a one-man band is hard and failure prone, but if you surround yourself with an amazing guitarist and drummer, your band can rock. (What an awful metaphor, but I'm sticking with it.)
I don't intend to trivialize how hard it is to surround yourself with good people. It's not easy. Professionally, especially when your influence on hiring may be limited, it's hard to get good people. (In your personal life, it's much easier to eject the people who mostly bring you down.) I think that may be one of the reasons I'm somewhat fanatical about acquiring, training and retaining good people. It makes an enormous difference in the way things go in your day to day work. I can't understand companies that don't get this, and working at a company that gets it is part of the reason I dig it.
Always, always be sure to high five your team. It sucks for everyone when the only feedback they get is when something isn't going right. It affects morale, retention and productivity. If you're in a leadership position, part of that is deferring the kudos as they come.