Has anyone ever taken credit for something you created? I recall a time when two of my coworkers produced an outstanding project for some of our clients. Shortly after the project was submitted, I ran into some of the clients at a conference. They wrongly gave me all the praise. I quickly corrected them and informed them that my two coworkers actually deserved the credit and said I would pass their comments on to the rest of our team. The clients then began raving about how humble I was for passing on the credit to others.
I tried to explain I was not attempting to be humble…but that my coworkers literally performed all the work. They responded by sharing a few funny clichés about leadership and teamwork, but I could tell they still didn’t quite understand.
I shared this story with my coworkers and fortunately they found humor in the misunderstanding. Moving forward, I made a conscious effort to seek out clients and introduce them to my coworkers, so they could actually meet the people behind the hard work.
Although not everyone seeks attention or recognition, it can be disheartening to see someone else credited for work they created. It can make matters worse if the wrong person actually accepts the credit and fails to acknowledge the person(s) who actually deserves the recognition.
However, if someone takes credit for your work, understanding the appropriate way to respond can be challenging. Take a look at the scenario below and let us know how you would respond. We’ll share our thoughts next week.
You and a coworker are assigned to create a marketing plan for a new product. While working on the project, your coworker explains he wants you to take the lead because he has a busy schedule.
Although he does contribute, you conduct most of the research, then send him a draft of the marketing plan and presentation slides. You ask him to review them and let you know if he has any changes.
He replies to your email by saying, “Everything looked great and I didn’t have any changes, so I went ahead and sent it to the boss. I forgot to copy you on the email, but I’ll let you know when I hear back.”
The next day, your boss publicly thanks your co-worker for submitting such an outstanding marketing plan, especially given how busy he is with other projects. Then your boss turns to you and says, “Thanks for assisting him with the plan.”
Then your coworker looks at the boss and says, “Hey we’re all busy, but that’s what overtime is for…right?” Everyone laughs, then goes back to work.
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