The e-mail exclusion
Your colleague circulates a report that the both of you had worked on to your department heads – but she excludes you from the e-mail loop by “accident”.
Take action: Confront your colleague and ask directly: “I noticed I was excluded from the e-mail, why is that so?” Get her to apologise for her carelessness and recirculate the report with your name included. If she gives you a lame excuse, tell her you will report this matter to your manager.
The ideas thief
You tell your colleague about your ingenious business pitch. She later presents it as her own at a meeting.
Take action: Calmly interject and say: “It’s interesting you raised this, I’ve been thinking about it too.” Then give your pitch, elaborating on ideas and facts so everyone knows you’ve done your homework. This shows your colleague that you won’t sit back while she steals your idea. After the meeting, ask her to explain her actions and get her to agree that it won’t happen again. Calmly explain what happened to your boss in private, and bring along e-mail printouts and documents that back up your story.
When working on a team project, one of your colleagues constantly misses meetings and never completes her share of the work. But later, she hogs the presentation, making it seem like she’s done most of the work.
Take action: Approach her as a team, and tell her you’re unhappy with her behaviour and how she claimed credit for everyone’s work. Your team should also meet with your boss, without your colleague’s knowledge, to raise your concerns. Th is prevents her from approaching your boss first and telling tales. Bring along documents such as the project management plan and point out specific tasks that your colleague failed to complete, as well as the meetings she skipped. This makes it clear to your boss who’s pulling their weight and who’s not. Plus, when dealing with that problematic colleague, your boss will be able to bring up concrete examples of what she’d done wrong.
Protect Your Work
Beware of who you share your ideas with
If you need to bounce ideas off someone, go to a colleague you trust, or one who works in a different department. Or speak with your boss so she’ll know it was your idea to begin with.
Save documents as proof of your ideas and research. If it’s a group project, keep track of your individual tasks, deadlines and progress – then get your team leader to verify the work in progress.
Don’t wait until a meeting or presentation to make your ideas known – share them at group discussions or team lunches. You could also approach your boss regularly for advice and feedback. This builds your reputation as someone who is constantly generating and refining ideas.
When your boss steals your idea
You’re doing a good job if your work is worth stealing. But if it happens regularly, let your boss know that you were surprised when your name was excluded from a proposal or project, and that you would like to know why. Make it known that you’re willing to support her, but you expect to be acknowledged. For example, you could say: “I’m glad you liked my ideas, but I would like my name to be on the final report that is submitted to the higher-ups.” If things don’t improve, ask someone from the human resources (HR) department for advice. This will also alert HR that there is an issue with your boss that could lead to other problems in future.
This story was originally published in the June 2013 issue of Her World.