Confronting a Credit Stealer

July 24, 2017

Confronting a Credit Stealer

In the last post, you had developed a game for pre-kindergarten. Wesley, who is senior to you but not your boss, had been very helpful in brainstorming solutions to problems. But when both of you were asked to present the game to the management group, Wesley took all the airtime, making you look like a hanger-on.

After the meeting, you are steaming at the dirty trick. You’re gonna get him on it.

The letting-off-steam approach

You: Why did you do it?
Wesley: Hey, Nick, I thought things went pretty well in there.
You: Yeah, with you hogging all the credit.
Wesley: What? I was showing the product in the best light.
You: And where do you get off giving it a name?
Wesley: It just came to me. But good, no?
You: That’s not the point. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
Wesley: What are you talking about? I saved your ass when you clammed up.
You: I didn’t—you didn’t let me have any air time.
Wesley: Let you? I wasn’t stopping you—I was covering for you.
You: And took all the credit.
Wesley: Oh, grow up, Nick. I’m not your babysitter—if you want air time, you gotta take it.
You: So much for teamwork!

Do you believe him? Is he possibly right? Your efforts to get in weren’t very effective and he’s probably right nobody is gonna make space for you. You have to find a way in.

Going in with swords blazing has not only created bad feeling but also probably doomed any chance of future collaboration.

The better-next-time approach

I know this is a difficult ask, but rather than rushing into a confrontation with Wes, take a deep breath and go for a walk. On it, mutter everything you want to say to him and plot how to bring about his downfall.

With that out of your system, slow down enough to ask yourself whether that was typical Wes behavior. If yes, then go to the next post on defensive moves.

But if not, you might allow yourself to wonder whether you had a role in this debacle. You might not be sure but, if this was atypical for Wes, maybe there’s a better way to tackle this.

Wesley: Hey, Nick. What happened in there?
You: I want to know, too.
Wesley: Why’d you clam up? I was tap-dancing the whole time to cover for you.
You: Cover for me? You took all the airtime.
Wesley: No, you never jumped in.
You: I tried but you ignored me.
Wesley: Guy, if you wanted to say something, you should have said it.
You: But I didn’t know how to break in.
Wesley: You just speak up. Don’t wait for permission.

So, you’ve cleared the air so that you can continue collaborating. Wes might even be open to teaching you his technique for taking center stage.

But all this assumes that you initially misinterpreted Wesley’s motives. But what if you’re pretty sure that you’ve got a credit stealer on your hands? Next post.

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