askST Jobs: What to do when a supervisor takes too much credit?

Employees should systematically analyse the amount of effort put into a job task, what each colleague and manager contributed, and the outcome. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

SINGAPORE – In this series, manpower reporter Tay Hong Yi offers practical answers to candid questions on navigating workplace challenges and getting ahead in your career.

Q: I feel my supervisor is taking too much credit for my work. What can I do?

A: It is never easy to watch when someone else, whether your boss or another colleague, takes credit for your work, said Ms Rupali Gupta, talent solutions leader at human resources consultancy Mercer Singapore.

However, if your manager looks good, it is a positive reflection of the entire team’s performance, and reflects well upon the group as a whole.

“Most successful work is done by groups and teams, unless you are in an individual contributor or research role,” said Ms Gupta.

“Even in that case, inspiration, references and support from others make the final deliverable stronger.”

She has some tips for those who feel their contributions are being diminished.

First, you could consider a few other factors to better suss out whether you have been accorded proper credit.

Ms Gupta advises employees to systematically analyse the amount of effort put into a job task, what each colleague and manager contributed, and the outcome.

“The role of your manager could have been to improve, strengthen and take the work a step ahead.”

And there may have been others who may have been involved, even if they did not directly interact with the employee.

“Sometimes, there is a broader perspective, coordination with key stakeholders, influencing and generating buy-in for work which the manager may be doing and this is not easily visible to team members.”

Ms Gupta added: “Your manager could be talking about and sharing a broader narrative with key stakeholders about you and the team.”

She said employees could also reflect on whether their manager gave them opportunities to learn and grow.

You could seek out your manager and colleagues’ perspectives on your contribution and impact as well.

If you still feel your contribution should have received better acknowledgement, you can proceed to approach your manager.

The conversation should cover the different perspectives you have considered, what you value, be it recognition, growth or learning, and how you feel about the situation from your perspective.

Among your peers, you can talk about ways to build a culture of recognising not just one another’s achievements, but effort as well.

“Instead of getting demotivated, think of ways you could work with other leaders and teams on projects or initiatives to increase your exposure and have your work shine in areas you are passionate about.

“There are many opportunities in a company with volunteering, employee resource groups, and other special projects to make an impact and stand out.”

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