You work hard at your position to help the team advance its goals. Yet, you also want to receive due credit when you dedicate yourself to a particular task. Discover how to handle the situation when someone else takes credit for your work, because this situation can be a delicate thing to tackle.
Prove It's Your Work
The first thing to keep in mind is you must prove that what you just accomplished is indeed your work. If you worked with other colleagues on a particular project, do not try to keep all of the glory for yourself. If the computer file is only on your desktop, then it's a good bet that you alone did the work and deserve all of the credit.
Document every email, interoffice memo and draft note so you can prove you did the work. Consider creating a dedicated folder on your computer that compiles all of this information in one place for easy retrieval later. When you start documenting your work from the beginning, you save yourself a lot of trouble when trying to prove it's rightfully yours.
Know Your Office Culture
Your office culture may thrive on team-based attitudes. Your team may get a lot of the credit instead of individuals. If you helped author a report, the team leader could get most of the credit for the work. Gauge the office culture first before you confront your supervisor about someone who takes credit for your hard work, because you may end up harming your prospects for promotion in the long term.
Determine the Issues
You must decide whether someone stealing your work is an important enough issue to bring up to your supervisor. Your co-worker might have accidentally taken credit for one slide during a presentation to an important client. If the client ends up signing a contract, perhaps it's best to revel in the team's success rather than bringing up one low-level issue.
A blatant violation might lead to a higher-level issue among your team. The trick is to not be too confrontational with the person or your supervisor. Keep a cool head and try not to get emotional when dealing with your colleagues. When you talk to the offending person, ask the co-worker what he plans to do to correct the problem. If that doesn't work, you may have to go to your boss for a remedy.
Use Proper Channels
Go through proper channels to fix the situation. A good supervisor should be responsive to your needs and listen to all sides of the story before making a decision. A narcissistic boss might go so far as to take credit for what you did, in which case you may have to take your case to human resources to protect your job. While this isn't pleasant, you may feel as if you must take a stand for what's right.
Ultimately, you must ask yourself if this issue is worth it. If you're new at a job, speaking up to the wrong person could land you in a job search again. If the situation becomes too unbearable, you might decide to find an employer that values your work ethic and gives you credit when it is due.
Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net