“We are in a time in business whenthere is so much focus on collaboration and teamwork … but we also live in a culture where you have to show your stuff,” said Lindsey Pollak, author of “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace.”
Getting credit for your work is an important part of establishing your worth and climbing the career ladder, but constantly seeking out recognition can backfire and end up making you look like a credit hog.
When it’s your boss
Part of being a good boss is giving credit where it’s due.
“The best leaders are the ones who say, ‘my team did this’ or ‘someone from my team came up with this idea and we ran with it,'” said Amy Cooper Hakim, an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert. “A top leader allows for others to rise up.”
But that doesn’t always happen.
If your boss frequently takes credit for your work, create a paper trail that shows where an idea originally stemmed from.
But tread lightly. Send a follow-up email after a one-on-one meeting — recap your discussion and say that you look forward to taking the lead or seeing your idea come to light.
If you decide to approach your boss directly, avoid making accusations and keep the focus on the benefit of the team.
“Make it about your boss’ best interest … show a business reason or outcome that doesn’t just benefit you,” said Pollak.
And understand that sometimes it makes sense for the boss to take the lead when it comes to presenting a project or idea.
“If it’s in front of someone who might be a big donor or the head boss, you might just need to step back and let the other person take the lead,” said Cooper Hakim.
When it’s a colleague
You have more room to assert yourself if it’s a colleague who is grabbing all the accolades.
“You can be a little more aggressive since you don’t have the same power relationship,” said Pollak.
Avoidsharing ideas in a private setting, and document contributions to help everyone feel that they are being properly recognized.
“Send a recap email saying, ‘I am so excited we are moving forward with my idea,'” suggested Cooper Hakim, who added that it’s a good idea to copy all the people involved, including your boss.
If you are working with a coworker who has a history of stealingideas or taking too much credit on a project, set some ground rules.
Try saying something like: I am happy to help with this, but I will like to present the project, suggested Cooper Hakim.
If you are sitting in on a presentation that you worked on and are feeling like the credit isn’t properly being given,send an email saying how you hope everyone enjoyed the presentation and it was a pleasure working with the team, she added.
“It doesn’t have to say: ‘I did all the information on slide three.’ The point is we are looking for people who can communicate and collaborate well with others while still maintaining a positive and happy vibe.”
You can also speak up to address any questions that come up to show your expertise and role.
Does it really matter?
Be careful with how often you seek out credit, warned Pollak.
“Business is a team sport. Sometimes two people do have the same idea and sometimes ideas come from a brainstorm.”
When deciding whether it’s worth speaking up, evaluate the results. Did you still get rewarded with a promotion, bonus or another big project? If the lack of acknowledgment isn’t happening regularly and isn’t derailing your career growth, sometimes it’s best to move on.
And when there’s an all-hands-on-deck situation, that’s not the time to go looking for credit. “During any kind of crunch period, step back and take one for the team,” said Cooper Hakim.
Give out credit where it’s due
Show the same courtesy to other people’s ideas and contributions that you would like, in order to help create a culture of recognition.
“Show you acknowledge other people’s contributions and give credit where credit is due and model what you would like,” said Pollak. “If you are frequently giving other people credit and then you claim credit for yourself, it feels more balanced.”