When Someone Else Takes Credit for Your Work

May 26, 2016

Career Advice

8322120385_7b28b96325_zOf all the tough interview questions you may get, behavioral scenarios are some of the hardest to respond to, primarily because you can never know exactly which scenarios the interviewer will refer to. There’s always an element of surprise in these types of questions. Here’s one you may get an interview:

How would you handle it if you worked with someone who managed to ‘take credit’ for all your great ideas?”

You may know how you’d respond in theory, but what do you do when it actually happens? Here is one strategy for success.

Step One: Investigate.
Your colleague may not realize he/she is doing this. It could be an oversight! A good first tactic would be to give them the benefit of the doubt, but to carefully inquire about why this is happening. You might ask your colleague if they realize they’ve taken credit for something that you originally suggested in a meeting weeks ago. If the response is clear that they believe it was their idea, you may need to move onto a different tactic.

Step Two: Communicate clearly.
At this point, when you speak in groups or in e-mails about your idea, you will want to gently remind team members and make it clear that you were the initiator of this idea. Be sure to state when and where this occurred.

For instance, in a meeting you may say, “Two weeks ago I brought up an idea in our staff meeting for how to solve XYZ….” This type of communication will need to be subtle but also repetitive if it’s clear your colleague isn’t buying it.

Another way to communicate that often makes people see the error of their ways is to make sure you give credit to them when it is due. When speaking about a project to your team, call out your colleagues work or reference their ideas so they see how this process works. They should begin to realize you’re not trying to steal anyone’s thunder but to instead appropriately allocate the credit to those who deserve it. You are a fair team member!

Step Three: Establish Guidelines.
Discuss with your colleagues how you will go about presenting projects. One of your guidelines should be how you communicate who did what in a group project. The leader can discuss with each member on this to get agreement on who did what.

Image Credit: Cristian Carrara.


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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