Credit Where Credit is Due, an Excerpt from Chapter Two: Politics and Power, from our upcoming Ask Linda e-Book
I’m told that I’m really good at what I do, but also that I need to learn to play the game of politics better to climb the corporate ladder. I like having new ideas, and getting people to come to consensus, but it’s really hard to do so in a meeting where there are people who take the credit for my ideas at the meeting or outside the meeting. I try not to get mad at them, but it’s sucking my energy, and it makes me mad to see them rewarded for their behavior. I’m not sure if I want to sign up for more of this. I just want to be nice and to be liked and to be effective. Should I just mind my own business, do my work well, and stay out of the political foray? She-Who-Wants-Credit
Dear She, Yours is a common issue. Most of us want to be liked AND effective, and none of us want to be seen as the ‘dragon lady’! And it’s only natural to expect rewards for the work you do, and to be upset if someone takes the credit for it. Here are some tips to help you get the credit you deserve for the work you do well.
1. Decide it’s OK to take the credit for the work you’ve done, and accept that you may get more visibility and responsibility and opportunity for doing just that.
2. Be clear in your communication about what you are planning to do for each project and the results that you deliver. Ensure that the key players are informed of your progress. Don’t be afraid of blowing your own horn. Make it fact/data-based communication with measurable, quantifiable results.
3. Be clear on your role and the role of others involved in the project and who should get credit for what. Spread the credit as widely as possible, and engage as many as possible in the successes.
4. Build relationships with all members of the team, all who will be participating in meetings. Know the motivations and perspectives of others on the team, and support them in achieving their goals, and ask them to support yours.
5. If and when someone takes the credit or violates a trust inside or outside a meeting, decide to be direct with them. Know the facts and filter out the emotional impact of what happened. Then approach him/her in an unemotional way about the facts and their implications and try to come to a consensus about how to move forward. This is not easily done. But finding a common objective, and collaborating to reach those objectives will help reach consensus.
6. If there are repeated infractions and lack of trust, create boundaries for how and when and under what terms you will work together. Call them on small infractions so that it doesn’t escalate into larger ones. Stop seeing yourself as the dragon lady if you do so. And don’t do it in an emotional, reactive way, so that they are less likely to see you as the dragon lady.
7. Focus on the positives and the results and you will see that there will be increasingly more positives and results.
8. Choose who is on your team and which team you work with based on past history and successes. Many times, the team may be more of an indication of success than the project.
9. With that said, choose a project that will likely have a large impact on the company, and recruit a stellar team for that project.
10. Celebrate when you do a great job, and invite invested others to join in the celebration.
Good Luck! Keep raising the bar on what you do and how well you do it, and make sure that you get the credit for doing so!