HUMAN RESOURCES / DEC. 23, 2014
version 2, draft 2

What To Do When Your Boss Steals Your Credit

There are few things more vexatious than seeing someone else take credit for your accomplishments. It is especially aggravating when the culprit is your boss. The tough choices in such a situation include choosing to be a timid employee and being quiet about it or speaking up and risk a sour relationship with your boss. The one thing that is evident about a credit-stealing boss is that he is already a self-serving person, and chances of growing under him are slim. You, therefore, lose nothing by addressing the issue.

Analyze the Situation

You will most likely learn about your boss’ habits through a third party or at a later date when it is time for awards and recognition. If you hear it from a third party, consider that the information may not be very accurate and conduct your investigations. Be sure that you are not overreacting or misunderstanding your boss. Think about the extent and frequency of the “crime”. If it is a one-time incident, it might have been unintentional. If it is something that often happens, it is time to take action. Analyze the extent and consequences of your boss’ credit-stealing tendencies. Investigate why he left you out of pushing for the idea that was originally yours. With all the facts at hand, you are on a firmer ground as you pursue action. If unsure about your decision, consult with someone you can trust in the organization.

Talk to your Boss

Raise the issue gently with your boss, and avoid a confrontation. No matter the amount of grievances you have against your boss, physical or verbal aggression will result in an unfavorable outcome. Explain how you feel about the situation, and ask if there is any failure in your end that led to the behavior. Ask your boss for his suggestion on the way forward. The aim is to discuss the problems tactfully without sounding like you are apportioning blame. The relationship with your boss is likely to go south if you sound like you disapprove of his leadership style. An open dialogue allows for an amicable solution without costing each of you their reputation in the organization or messing up your relationship. Learn to document and protect your work moving forward.

Forward the Issue

If meeting with your boss does not yield any change and your boss persists with the behavior, forward the case to the relevant authorities. Call for a meeting with your boss’ direct line manager or the disputes officer in the human resource department. Use copies of emails and other forms of communication to your boss as evidence. Resist the urge to exaggerate your case to avoid coming off as malicious.

Protect Yourself

Involving other people in your dispute will most likely damage some of your working relationships. If you have reported and no action has been taken, and your boss continues to receive credit due to you, consider filing for a transfer or quitting. While these measures should be avoided at all costs, working in a hostile environment can result in career stagnation and emotional pain.

Some bosses feel threatened by a good employee and believe they have to protect their job at all costs as cited in Forbes Magazine. Protecting yourself against such a boss is your responsibility. Standing up against such behavior also saves other victims that would have suffered the same in future. In the end, you are morally entitled to credit for your achievements.

 

Image Source: Dianegottsman

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