Career Advice

How to Deal With People Who Take Credit for Your Work

Guy Stealing Laptop

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.”

~ Brian Tracy ~

Although Alberto was young, his fast learning skills and sharp thinking abilities helped him advance to the role of team leader quickly. However, when it came to proposing new ideas to upper management, Alberto was reluctant. He wasn’t sure if his ideas were “good enough.”

He turned to one of the senior colleagues on his team to get feedback on some of the things he was working on and was quite taken aback when the co-worker he’d confided in pitched some of his ideas at the next company meeting without giving Alberto any credit for his work. Alberto’s ideas were not only well received, but one of them actually got the green light to get implemented.

Overcome with frustration, Alberto’s sharp mind got thinking again. Here are three steps he took that you can use to deal with people who take credit for your work:

  1. Play nice. You might feel like “telling” on your colleague and ranting to your boss, but like Alberto, without any documented proof, you’re better off taking the experience as a hard-learned lesson. Continue to be courteous to the co-worker who took credit for your work, but don’t get complacent. Start brewing up fresh ideas and look for new ways to increase your visibility.
  2. Document everything. When sending out emails, copy people directly involved with the project regarding project updates, ideas, deadlines, and more. Be careful not to overdo this; you don’t want to flood inboxes or annoy people. Alberto added his own signature and copied his boss on project updates or timelines he emailed out to the team. He only copied senior managers on ideas he felt were critically important and deserved their attention.
  3. Have a mentor you can trust. Building positive relationships at work is critical. However, if you go a step further and build a strong connection with someone you can trust, preferably up the ranks, it can help you immensely. Alberto befriended a senior executive who served as the lead on one of his projects. Always being respectful of his mentor’s time, Alberto bounced ideas off him and elicited his advice before presenting ideas to his own bosses and team.

Alberto learned valuable career advice from someone taking credit for his work. He learned that it’s his responsibility to get out there, share his ideas, and gain visibility. There’s no gain without risk. He also learned how important it is to create a credit-sharing culture in the work environment and give recognition and praise where it’s due.

If you find yourself constantly being over-looked at work, perhaps you need to start looking out for ways to gain visibility, enhance your perception, and build influence. Getting Ahead will help you get noticed and take your career to the next level.

Talkback: Did you see your co-worker get a pat on the back for an idea that you came up with? Is your boss taking credit for work you’ve done? Tell us about it below. 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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