By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
While we do believe that our work will speak for itself, in reality getting credit is important too. Interestingly, while companies believe that employees deserve to be acknowledged for their contribution, very few provide clear guidelines on how employee contribution will be recognised. The most obvious explanation for a credit-grabbing senior colleague’s behaviour is his/her craving for recognition. He/ she may be feeling threatened by you or others in the team and is going all out to build his/her brand and protect his/her job at any cost. By taking credit for the work done by you, he/she is also covering up their own shortcomings.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and consider another option. Maybe this is an honest mistake or an oversight, as the colleague believes that by being senior, he/she represents the team and sharing ideas of the junior members is a part of his/her role.
A few measures you may want to consider.
- Don’t act on impulse. Take a few days to calm down and assess the ‘real’ problem. This will allow you a chance to see things in the right perspective. Getting upset and shooting off an email or getting into a confrontation with your senior colleague when you are seething with anger is the worst option. Sit down, assess the situation and jot down the number of times he has taken credit for your work. If these are a few instances which are spaced out, you can safely avoid acting on the matter at this stage – you would not like to be seen as a ‘childish’ person who wants to be complimented for every little thing, especially since the senior colleague can escalate the matter to the boss who is more accessible to him. However, if these episodes are more frequent, there’s a need for you to take some action.
- Make detailed notes of your ideas and your contribution to various projects. Keep these notes and emails handy as they are not only great for future reference, but would also enable you to keep track of your contribution.
- Schedule a conversation with your senior colleague and share your thoughts on this topic. Don’t start out by point blank accusing him of having done something awful. Instead, talk about it as if it were some kind of a misunderstanding or an oversight. If you get the feeling that he had not even realised he was stealing your credit, this conversation will help him build awareness for future interactions. He may try to make amends by following it up with an email addressed to the team thanking you for your contribution or offering due credit openly in a meeting. If he does not agree, share with him your detailed list of contributions and talk about the effort you put into the project, ensuring he gets the message that you are keeping a track. Clearly, whether it’s a misunderstanding or a bad habit, talking about it openly is the first step to fix it.
- Work on improving your visibility within the firm by interacting with team members, your boss and stakeholders including HR and using these interactions to subtly showcase your work. Make your projects more visible and without disclosing confidential information, build a wider network of contacts.
- Schedule a coffee with your boss and subtly mention your contribution and share a few ideas for the future. Ensure you don’t come across as a complainer; instead use it as an opportunity to promote your expertise by getting your boss involved and ensuring he sees first-hand your contribution.
- Get proactive by taking an active part in presenting to the boss / team. Work with your senior colleague and openly ask: Who will present this idea? Who will speak about this aspect in the next meeting? Who will submit the interim report next week?
- Build a culture of sharing credit by openly thanking relevant team members. This will create a culture where contributions are recognised and credits shared with the deserving team members.
( Article as it appeared in The Times of India https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/worklife-march-1-2022/newslettertoi/msid-89903478.cms )