Is it credit-grabbing, or just the way an office works?

Q: “My boss appears to be taking credit for a difficult project that I am working on, even though it does not involve him in any way. The vice president of our department recently sent out an email in which she congratulated both my manager and me on the project’s success and expressed appreciation for our hard work. However, he hasn’t worked on it at all.

“My manager could have graciously set the record straight by replying to the vice president and giving me the credit, but he did not do this. Now I wonder if he may be exaggerating his role. I know that whenever he meets with executives about the project, he uses slides that I created. What should I do about this?” Unrecognized

A: Credit-grabbing managers are extremely annoying. However, based on the evidence provided, I think you may be jumping too quickly to an unwarranted conclusion.

The vice president specifically mentioned you in her congratulatory email, so she obviously knows about your involvement with the project. Including your boss in the compliment is customary office etiquette, since managers have ultimate responsibility for all work done in their departments.

While your boss may not have “set the record straight” with an email, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. He could be commending you in conversations with executives or praising your work in progress reports. After all, the vice president was clearly aware of your role.

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As for the slides you created, all managers use work produced by their employees when talking with higher-ups. That’s just standard operating procedure.

Try to remember that, for future success, support from your boss is much more valuable than solo recognition for this project. If you develop an adversarial relationship, he will be much less likely to give you credit for anything.

Developing a partnership with your boss is key for career success.  Here are some of the basics: How to Manage Your Boss.