At some point in every professional’s career, they will have to work as part of a team to complete a project. All parties have to contribute to reach the desired goal and, without the others, the project likely wouldn’t succeed.
In most cases, once the project draws to a close, everyone involved is recognized for their efforts. However, in some cases, a co-worker may swoop in and take credit for your work, leaving you in a precarious situation.
Figuring out how to deal with a “credit thief” isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are steps you can take to address the situation and prevent it from happening in the future. Here’s how to get started.
Prepare Yourself to Speak Up
Many professionals may be tempted to overlook a teammate stealing credit, assuming addressing the issue would cause more drama than it is worth. While considering moving past the incident doesn’t seem inappropriate on the surface, it does show that teammate you aren’t going to speak up, potentially encouraging them to continue the behavior.
While you don’t want to lash out the moment they take credit for your work, you do need to prepare yourself for a conversation. That way, you can set boundaries and ensure you are properly recognized for your contributions.
Talk to Your Co-Worker in Private
In some cases, a teammate may accidentally take credit for your work. They might not have meant you any harm and, if they were put on the spot when asked about the project, may have accidentally misspoken. As a result, speaking to your co-worker in private is often the best way to proceed.
Don’t start the discussion in an accusatory manner. Instead, let your teammate know how the incident made you feel and how it may have influenced the way you are viewed in the workplace. Give your co-worker a chance to explain why it occurred. Then, work together to create a plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Set Up a Meeting With Your Manager
If you have spoken to your teammate and the issue remains unresolved or if your co-worker continues to take credit for your work, you may need to get your manager involved. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your boss to discuss the issue. Then, if more is required, be ready to participate in another meeting with you, your manager and your teammate.
Ideally, you should only involve your manager if it is genuinely required, hence why you should talk to your co-worker in private first. However, if the conflict escalates or your teammate continues a pattern of stealing credit, involving your boss may be necessary as a means of protecting your reputation and getting the situation resolved.
If you would like to know more about how to deal with credit thieves, or find a new job far away from them, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace conflict management expertise can benefit you.