When Colleagues Claim Credit for Your Work
You work hard to be the best at your job. You put in the long hours, collaborate with other employees, create fresh ideas and content, and genuinely put your best into every task you tackle. It always feels good when your superiors notice your dedication, but it feels even worse when someone else takes credit for all that work you just accomplished.
If one of your colleagues is constantly taking credit for your work or you feel like everything you do is always behind the scenes, you need some useful techniques to get the credit you deserve. These are a few possible scenarios you might face at your job and ways to deal with them that won’t make the situation worse.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before you start to ask for credit at work, there are a few things you should keep in mind. You want to make sure your work is your work, have a feel for your office culture, and ask for the right credit.
First and foremost, you want to make sure the work you claim as yours was indeed yours alone. Often, you work with other employees to get a job done and rather than a solo effort it is a collaborative job. If that is the case, don’t be a hog and steal all the glory. Make sure you are mentioned as a part of the team but realize that you are part of a group that got the job done.
Also, make sure that the work you did is creative and original. If you just rewrite something or rework an existing project, that isn’t really your original work. You might have made it better, and that’s great, but you were not the original creator. If you honestly did the job on your own and created something entirely new, then you deserve the credit.
Know Your Culture
Before you start to make a fuss about not getting the credit you deserve, make sure you understand the office culture. Sometimes if you are a part of a team, the head of the group is listed as the author, and they tend to get the glory. In many situations, the team will still get some of the credit but be aware you might not be the star of the show.
There are other situations where it might seem a little selfish to make a push for individual credit if there were others that contributed to the project. Make sure you have a good feel for your office before you start asking for credit on a project. You might have to spend a few weeks or months at your job getting a feel for the office culture before you can decide how to proceed with uncredited work.
Know Your Audience
There are many forms of credit you can take for your work. It’s great if all your coworkers give you a pat on the back for a job well done on a big project, but will that really help you in the long run? Probably not. You want to get credit for things from the people that matter and in the places, that count. Continually bugging your coworkers for credit will only make you a pest and could end up backfiring.
Choose your battles when it comes to getting credit. If the work you completed is presented in front of a group of your higher-ups, then you want to ensure your name is a part of the package. These are the people that influence your career moves and can help you advance down the line.
Habits to Help Claim Credit for Your Work
There are a few things you can do starting right now to make it easier to claim credit for your work. The number one habit to form now? Prove your work!
This is perhaps the best thing you can do to prove your work. Documenting every little memo, note draft, and email will make it ten times easier to show that this work is, in fact, your own. Create a file in your inbox or even a hard copy folder and store everything related to your current project. That way, if something comes up or a coworker tries to steal your work, you can easily prove them wrong.
So many times, people try to prove their work after it’s already stolen, and they don’t have all the documentation. Start right now, and it will be much easier in the future to prove that the work you do is indeed your own.
How Severe Is the Damage?
Ok, so it’s happened. A colleague stole your work. It’s up to you to figure out how bad it is and what steps you need to take to correct it. The issue will probably either be a low-level or a high-level problem, and each requires different actions.
If the problem is something little like your name missing on a slide in a PowerPoint presentation, then that is a low-level issue. You can just go directly to the slide creator and ask them to make a quick fix. If this has happened a few times, make sure they aren’t using an outdated template or looking at the wrong information.
Most of the time, your coworker isn’t purposely trying to keep you from getting credit, they are just making human errors. You should be able to iron out any low-level issues by talking to the person yourself.
High-level issues can be a little trickier. First, you need to know what constitutes a high-level problem, especially because it’s important to be mindful of your company’s time and money. Perhaps your coworker has blatantly stolen the work you did and told your boss that it was their original work. Before you head straight to the top or chew your coworker out, take some time to calm down. You can fix the problem much better when you have a cool head.
Once you’re ready, go directly to your coworker and point out the issue and ask what they plan to do to fix it. Try not to be confrontational and listen to what they have to say. You can make the situation much worse if you jump to conclusions or refuse to listen to what they say.
After you talk with the offender, head to your manager and explain the entire situation, including your conversation with your coworker. If this is something that keeps happening regularly, the manager might need to involve HR. No matter what, make sure you remain calm and professional throughout the entire ordeal as that will reflect on your character and work ethic.
What Not to Do
You don’t want to make an unpleasant situation worse by having a lousy attitude or bad-mouthing your coworkers and the company. Here are a few tips on how to react if someone else tries to steal your credit.
It’s worth mentioning again, but keep your cool throughout the problem. If you fly into a rage every time this happens or start yelling at your coworkers, you are now the biggest issue in the office. Managers and HR are equipped to handle these situations and will ensure that everything is done the way it should.
Make their job easier by being as helpful and professional as possible. You may have to repeat your story numerous times and constantly prove your work, but in the end, keeping calm will serve you much better than losing it.
Gossiping is almost as damaging as getting visibly angry at the office. Fight the urge to badmouth co-workers to other employees, even if you aren’t on the clock. Again, being the office gossip reflects on your character and could end up harming your position in the company. Discuss the issue only with people like your manager or HR and keep a tight lip with other coworkers.
If This Goes On and On
If another co-worker stealing credit for your work is a constant issue at your job, then you have a few decisions to make. You can keep following the steps above and taking the proper channels through the company to continuously resolve the issues, or you can choose to find a new job. While it might not sound like much fun to hunt around for a new job, it could be worth the added effort if your work keeps getting stolen.
Your work reflects your talent and creativity, especially in positions such as writing, marketing, or social media. Unfortunately, many of these jobs are plagued by plagiarism, and it’s important to know how to protect your work. Don’t let anyone try to steal your hard work and find a company that helps you shine.
This guest post was authored by Dakota Findley
Dakota has been published on a wide ranging spectrum of respected sites. His writing inspirations are drawn from the areas of saving/making money, goal setting, technology, investments and beyond.