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Tips on dealing with co-workers taking credit for someone else’s work

Paula (name changed) had recently entered the corporate world. With a doctorate in Chemistry, this was her first stint in the corporate sector and she started working diligently as an assistant manager in the research and development team. Paula was entrusted with the responsibility of introducing a cream with antiseptic and emollient properties. After extensive research, she prepared a power point presentation (PPT) which had details about the cream formula. She still had 24 hours before presenting her idea during a round table conference of company directors. Therefore, she shared her work with her team leader (TL), hoping to get some feedback. The TL returned her PPT a few hours before the commencement of the program and congratulated Paula on coming out with a breakthrough formula. This was very encouraging for Paula, who started looking forward to her turn now. However, before her turn, her TL’s PPT was scheduled and the moment her TL began presenting her idea, Paula was taken aback. Unfortunately, her TL had presented Paula’s idea and taken the credit for the entire PPT, without acknowledging even once that it was Paula’s work.

Like Paula, millions of youngsters and naïve adults undergo this trauma, especially during the initial days of their careers and if this happens repeatedly, a person might feel anxious and helpless. Therefore, one must take lessons from such mistakes and ensure that this does not happen again.

Listed below are a few tips, which can help a person deal with a coworker who steals someone else’s idea and takes the entire credit for that work.

Avoid reacting impulsively

It is important to maintain professional ethics and not respond to any kind of cheating by a co-worker by letting off steam in the middle of the meeting. One must wait for the meeting to conclude. Subsequently, one should try approaching that co-worker with a calm demeanor. It is possible that the co-worker would be absconding or pretend to be busy. However, whenever one gets a chance to speak to that co-worker, one should adopt a polite yet, firm approach. One should tell the coworker that his conduct was unthinkable and despicable. Further, one can warn the co-worker that if he again resorts to taking false ownership, the matter would be escalated to the higher authorities.

Documenting everything

This is especially useful for silent workers for they can be easily taken for a ride by the limelight hoarders. One can prevent this thing from happening by documenting each and everything and putting their essentials on every document. One should also keep the senior management and sometimes even the highest authority of the organization posted about the kind of work one is doing.

Being cautious and responsible

Stealing someone’s concept and taking credit for the same is one of the most degrading and unprofessional acts, however, part of the blame also goes to the person whose idea was stolen. Had that person been cautious, this unfortunate incident could have been avoided. Therefore, one should keep one’s folders and systems password-protected. If one needs a feedback, one should approach a senior person from some other team and should try to take feedback in person, rather than giving someone a couple of days to assess the work.

Reporting to the authorities

Some people can get so insecure with their co-workers that they leave no stone unturned in harassing the former. One can again try to succeed at stealing someone’s work and garner credit. However, this non-negotiable act must be addressed the second time it happens. One must report this to the seniors or the management, as per the company policy. The cheating can be easily proved since most of the organizations have cameras. In addition, a person who originally worked on a project possesses an in-depth expertise, which a cheater might not be aware of. At this stage, one can also reproduce the project/idea developmental stage emails that one sent to the management/boss to apprise them of the daily updates.

Road to recovery

At some workplaces, the environment can get toxic because of the monopoly of older employees and despite several attempts, one might fail in getting noticed and appreciated for his/her efforts. This might cause acute anxiety, which, if left untreated can have a huge impact on one’s quality of work and life. Therefore, one must seek professional support to recover from anxiety.

If you or someone you know is grappling with anxiety, contact the Anxiety Disorder Helpline to get details about the most effective anxiety disorder treatment centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-7951 or chat online to know about the anxiety disorder treatment clinics in the USA.