Trending Topics

How correctional leaders can redirect “glory grabbers”

These individuals may deliberately sabotage projects to enhance how they look, which can compromise everyone’s safety in corrections


Addressing the presence of glory grabbers can help mitigate the dangers of staff division in corrections.


It is very human to long for credit for a job done. Yet all of us are not the same. Most of us simply want credit for our efforts – no more, no less. Some prefer no credit at all. And then there is the glory grabber.

Glory grabbers, quite simply, crave credit – often more than they are due. They are very concerned about the forward advancement of their careers. They broadcast and amplify any small vocational achievement. At times, they may deliberately sabotage parts of a project to enhance the look of things under their control.

If it takes horsepower to move things, we can think of our work in horse terms. For example, there are many workhorses in our field. These beasts of burden shoulder the work and do not necessarily need recognition to move forward. Then there are show horses who demand attention for very little work done. Unfortunately, the work horse is often overlooked, and the show horse is often over-rewarded.

One may think that division between colleagues over credit is not likely to produce peril. On the face of it, this may seem merely like a simple demonstration of differences in personalities. In corrections, however, there is an added danger. Offenders may detect the staff division and capitalize on the tension.

Both disenfranchised staff and those with bloated vocational worth can be manipulated into introducing dangerous elements into the work place by enterprising offenders. These can come in the form of inattention to details crucial for security, vengeance and contraband. It is not just a matter of simple pride on the line. Safety is a possible casualty.

What can leaders learn from circumstances surrounding glory grabbers? Here are four helpful concepts.

1. Consider the larger picture.

Leaders can illustrate the interconnectedness of operations. To support this, the worksite could promote the mission statement and the notion of safety for all and by all. Training should be offered on teambuilding as an additional buttress to overall safety.

2. Credit where credit is due.

Giving credit in good measure is important. Glory grabbers often seek acclaim, even if it is not warranted. Yet there are many who achieve good things under the radar. It is imperative that leaders refrain from rewarding glory grabbers with undue recognition for ordinary tasks. Leaders should not disenfranchise future talent by deifying current talent. Look instead at the results and the teamwork process rather than the presentation and rush for credit. Credit given should be credit earned.

3. Consider the strengths of others.

Place those who crave attention and praise on special assignments on which they might perform well. Let them earn the kudos.

4. Be realistic.

Not all tactics will yield harmony for the workplace. In the end, we do have to dance with egos to a degree, but that is a small price to pay for safety.

Leaders can look at the impact of glory grabbers through the parallels of horses or simply at face value. Glory grabbers will always be a part of the mosaic that is our complex workplace. Addressing their presence can help mitigate the dangers of staff division in corrections.

Joe Bouchard worked in a maximum correctional facility for 25 years and is now retired. He continues to write and present on many corrections topics. He is the former editor of The Correctional Trainer. Bouchard has been an instructor of corrections and criminal justice since 1999. He currently teaches at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. Bouchard also has online writing clips at He is also the author of three corrections books for LRP publications and 10 books for IACTP’s series of training exercises books. Order now.