Ever feel like you never really left the group-project phase of your life behind?
Work has this in common with your school days: in most jobs, much of what you accomplish will be a team effort. And while this can lead to more creative ideas and more effective solutions, it’s also an opportunity for the lazier folks in the group to coast on your hard work. Worst-case scenario: they try to make it look like your idea was really their idea. So, what’s a reasonable adult to do?
Here’s how to get the credit you’ve earned with all your hard work:
1. Don’t Assume You’re Being Noticed
Thinking that your success is obvious is a problem when you’re not making enough waves at the office. You’re not being graded on everything you do, and your score doesn’t appear above your head as you complete one task after another. You need to toot that horn for yourself every now and again. And toot it clearly and loudly.
2. Use Regular Check-ins to Toot
If you have a regular one-on-one meeting with your supervisor scheduled, then yay! You should always bring your success stories to that meeting. Clearly document your wins and accomplishments over the dark forces that almost derailed the project. When you’re done, send an email to your boss as a “summary” of those same things you just outlined. This brings us to the next point…
3. Document, Document, Document
Yes, sometimes you do need to get it in writing. Email is easy, and it’s a great way to have a two-way record (sent and received) of your big accomplishments. Plus, you’ll have it all handy to add to that pesky annual review when it rolls around. You can easily write down a long list of accomplishments for your HR file.
4. Speak Up
If you’re at a meeting and someone is taking credit for your idea, whether they realize it or not, it’s time to speak up.
“You need to shut that down, but remain calm,” said Vicki Salemi, Monster.com‘s career expert, as noted by Kathryn Vassel at CNN. “You don’t want to stoop to their level and throw them under the bus or badmouth them, but you still want to make yourself shine.”
Not sure what to say? Salemi suggested something like: “When I worked on these numbers originally I found the same thing.”
5. Don’t Fear Sharing in Public
If you don’t speak for yourself, who will? To avoid a boss or coworker “borrowing” your idea and sharing it first in a meeting or brainstorming session, don’t be afraid to speak up with your own ideas when you have them!
“Though it might be intimidating, announcing your plans to a wider audience naturally helps prevent others from being tempted to ‘borrow’ or ‘be inspired by’ your ideas,” wrote Jennifer Winter at HuffPost. “In my first role as a manager, I was cautious about sharing my ideas with the group — not because I didn’t have them, but because I wanted to make sure they were ‘good’ before speaking up. So, naturally, I turned to more senior members of my team or my boss and bounced ideas off of them, first.”
Winter found that her trusted colleagues were taking her ideas public and getting the credit. So, she spoke up in groups and got the credit herself.
Don’t be afraid to do the same. If you’re going to do the work, you deserve the credit. Embrace your success and claim that reward!
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