5 Steps to Take When a Coworker Takes Credit For Your Work

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Getting recognition for the task you have accomplished is essential in your career. Your boss may want to reward you  and you would want to be recognised by your colleagues as well.  So you need to make sure all the hard work you put in is well noticed. Unfortunately, sometimes your work can go unnoticed because of a  colleague, whether intentionally or unintentionally taking credit for your work. This can affect your motivation and even setback your career development.

When someone takes credit for work here are ways to handle the situation in a professional way:

1. Calm Down and Raise It as Soon as Possible

coworker takes credit work calm down raise it as soon as possible

If you are in a meeting and your coworker presents ideas claiming to be his/hers, make sure that everyone understands your contributions to that task. Let him/her finish first before raising your concerns. If you have to interrupt, control your emotions and make it professional.  Address it quickly and go straight to the point. However, be careful when raising your concerns. Do not accuse them directly of stealing your ideas, but rather put it as observation or a question.

2. Follow Up in Private and in a Calm Manner

Your coworker might have unintentionally taken credit for your work. So instead of making accusations, frame your claim as a question. For instance, you may ask a question like “Did you feel like you were able to hit all the main points that we discussed before? You presented by using ‘I’ instead of ‘We’, was that intentional? Why did you present it that way?” This will help to give your colleague an opportunity to recognize his/her mistake if he/she ever did it without a noticing. Clear your differences and clarify that there are no hard feelings between you two.

3. Resolve the Situation

coworker takes credit work resolve the situation

If your coworker understands that he/she made a mistake, there is always room to make things right. You can discuss the best way to set things straight with your manager and those involved. He/she can choose to email the manager and the team, clearly thanking you for your contribution so that everyone can understand your involvement in the project.  

4. Approach your Seniors

If you fail to resolve the situation with your colleague, you might need to approach more senior colleagues to help resolve this. It is most likely that they may have faced a similar issue before  and could have a better chance of an effective solution from experience. Be care4. ful not to make it look like you are complaining and instead frame it as an effort to create a good working relationship. But if the situation persists, you might need to escalate the issue to your boss and let him/ her handle it.

5. Prevent it From Happening Again

coworker takes credit work prevent it from happening again

In the future, try to prevent this from happening again. Use all the appropriate opportunities at the office to bring out your ideas and demonstrate your involvement in a project. Furthermore, ensure that you copy your boss on the projects emails that you are working on. Ensure that you speak up during brainstorming sessions and make it clear that the idea originated from you.

Although you do not have to get credit for everything that you accomplish, recognition for your contribution to a task is important.  If you it is a teamwork, make sure that everyone is recognised well to avoid the queries at the end of the project.

Mustapha Mosha
Mustapha Ally is a Community Marketing Manager at Zoom Tanzania and BrighterMonday Tanzania. He loves digital marketing social media