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Ask Ash

19 August 19

Advice column: I recently assisted a colleague with a detailed piece of work, but he has claimed all the credit

Dear Ash,

I recently assisted a colleague with a detailed piece of work. Much to my annoyance, my colleague has claimed this as his own and indeed was praised for his attention to detail by our line manager in front of our other colleagues. Despite many opportunities to do so, he has failed to acknowledge my role in producing this work. What should I do?

Ash replies:

I can understand your frustration at not being given credit for your part in developing the work. However, you can at least for now take satisfaction in knowing that you did a great piece of work as it is being complemented by management. There will be other opportunities I am sure where you will be able to demonstrate your abilities.

You confirm that you assisted your colleague, so clearly he also played an important role in developing the work. However, he should have fairly acknowledged your input too.

I suggest that rather than confront your colleague and be accused of creating animosity in the workplace, you look to learn from this event for the future. Going forward I suggest that you make your line manager aware of the work you are involved in and the role you are playing; this could be done through regular weekly or fortnightly one-to-one catch up sessions with your manager. Alternatively, if there are regular team meetings in your office, make clear through this forum what you are working on, even if you are assisting others with their work. 

Teamwork is often necessary in the workplace, and credit for work for individuals can sometimes be lost in the bigger picture of trying to get the work completed within specific timescales. Therefore just aim to subtly make clear your role to management in order to ensure they are aware of your efforts. For example, if the work is mentioned in front of your line manager again, you could make a point of perhaps thanking your colleague for letting you have the opportunity to be involved in developing the work and confirm that you would welcome opportunities to work on similar projects in the future. This way you would be making clear your input without seeming overly zealous. 

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and other legal professionals, which can be put to her via the editor: peter@connectcommunications.co.uk, or mail to Suite 6b, 1 Carmichael Place, Edinburgh EH6 5PH. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Education, Training & Qualifications team. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, head of admissions on 0131 476 8162, or by email: KatieWood@lawscot.org.uk

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