Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Stealing Credit Manipulation Betrayal Communication Bragging Power Plays and Players Who's In Charge?

I have one manager who reports to me, and I work with her on a regular basis to make improvements in her department. We work well together, but when the two of us meet with my manager, there is a problem. The manager who reports to me makes it sound like she is the only one responsible for improvements in the department. I am reluctant to say anything to her or to my manager because I think I would look weak. How should I handle this?

You may be working well with a manager who reports to you, but it sounds like she is working your manager well. Although you do not want to appear weak to either of them, she is already making you look weak. You are correct in refraining from simply telling them that you deserve some credit. Fortunately, there is a more subtle approach that can help. The next time the three of you meet and the manager who reports to you starts to wax eloquently on what she has done for the department, you should enter the conversation and, without missing a beat, elaborate on the actions and use the word, "we," at every logical point. In addition, if there are specific contributions that were exclusively yours, you can make them part of a larger point, such as by saying, "When I designed this, I noticed...." Although the manager who reports to you is sending a message to your manager, you should be aware that she is sending one to you, too.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!