Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable happens: your co-worker takes the credit for all the hard work you put in to complete a project. Immediately, your heart skips a beat and you begin to wonder how and why he would do such a thing. “What just happened? Did he just steal my glory for the job?” You think to yourself.
One of the worst feelings ever is having your work claimed by another person after doing a good job. Should you cease the moment and tell the truth or wait till after the meeting to speak up? Publicly claiming credit for the work you do, otherwise perceived as “tooting your own horn” is not comfortable for most people. However, the consequence of this is that some co-workers may take advantage, claim ownership and get all the praise.
Let’s find out how to respond to the situation when it happens;
1. Take a Breather and Act Calmly
Seeing your colleague steal your glory after working so hard on a project is heartbreaking. You will be tempted to call the person out right away, but you should exercise some decorum. You don’t have to make a scene at the meeting or violently confront your colleague in the hallway. You will only look immature and unprofessional if you use this approach.
Experts believe that when you are emotionally piqued in situations like this, your mind doesn’t work at its best and you are most likely to explode and make matters worse. When you take some time to calm down, you put yourself in the best position to make your voice heard without going the violent way, whether it is during or right after the meeting. You want to remain professional as you make your point and present your facts.
2. Set the Record Straight
Whatever you do, it is important you speak up and not let the moment pass. If you care to take some time to calm down, the maximum you can go is about two days when the memory is still fresh. If you want to act immediately the incident happens, smile, and aim to speak with warmth and authority to clear up any misunderstanding.
You can say for instance; “What Kwaku is trying to explain is that we collaborated on this effort. He led the initial data gathering, while I devised the methodology and performed the analysis”. Even if it wasn’t a collaborative effort you don’t want to embarrass Kwaku before the team, because the real conversation will take place with him privately, later. If you throw him under the bus instantly, you might not have a constructive conversation at a later date.
3. Find Out Why Privately
Don’t be quick to make accusations the moment you get the chance to voice it out. Ask your co-worker why he did what he did to push him to explain why. It will leave him no choice than to provide proof as to why he or she felt justified to take credit for the project or idea. Give your colleague an opportunity to recognize his mistake.
For example, you can say; “I noticed during the meeting that when you talked about the project you said “I” instead of “we.” Was that intentional?”
Your goal is not to pin blames, but to show that you noticed what happened and don’t think it was right. Politely, insist that it doesn’t happen again and that any correction that needs to be made is done with immediate effect.
4. Own Your Work
Remember, if you don’t take credit for all your efforts and hard work, someone else will. To ensure your co-worker doesn’t steal your glory again, there is only one sure-fire method, publicly claim your work efforts at the workplace. You can do this by highlighting every achievement and attaching your name to the result.
For example, make an announcement in a meeting or by email saying; “Team, I just completed the marketing strategy for this quarter and I have begun work on that for the next quarter. If you have any questions or suggestions on the results, please let me know.” This way you put your name tag on it and no one can claim credit for it.
5. Escalate the Problem If It Doesn’t Stop
Be on alert and ready to speak up whenever the problem happens again. Sometimes some people overlook your earlier confrontations or mistake them for jokes and take them lightly. If the behaviour continues after multiple conversations, escalate your complaint to a higher supervisor. Share your track record of prior conversations to show that you’ve been handling it maturely and taking reasonable action.
There’s nothing more infuriating than someone taking credit for your work. If performing poorly can get you into trouble with your supervisor, then you deserve to get your praises when you perform exceptionally. That is why it is important you act quickly once someone attempts to take your “shine” and these tips will help you address the problem.
Have you ever had someone take credit for your work? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.