I am someone who likes to believe that it is important for all members in a team to give and receive credit where credit is due, but recently these ideas have been put to challenge in my office. You see, a few months ago, my coworker and I were left responsible for the department we work in while it underwent a few management changes. The idea was that we would work together to keep the work going. However, working with my colleague has been a struggle because no matter how much I contribute, he gets all the credit. It is very frustrating not only because of the fact that I typically contribute more to the work that he receives credit for, but also because he never corrects people when they give him credit. In addition, he is not only taking credit for the work being done, he is also taking credit for my own thoughts and opinions; there have been several times where my coworker has come to me asking for help and because I want to be a good colleague, I help him. But then I hear him walk around claiming what I told him as his own thoughts and he never once acknowledges that I helped him our nor does he even thank me for helping him.

Right now, I am currently working on a big assignment on my own and my colleague has recently expressed his interest in being part of this assignment. Moreover, he has been walking around saying that we are working on this assignment when he has not really contributed to any of the work. At this point I am reluctant to fully let him take part in this work because I do not want him to take credit.

How do I talk to my colleague about this? I don’t want to start conflict in the work place, but I know that if I do not talk to him about this now, this will get worse and worse.

  • 1
    You're too late, your coworker has already started the conflict. Confront and apply consequences if he doesn't stop. What else can you do?
    – user8365
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:06

3 Answers 3


If your colleague has been successful in getting credit then he is good at manipulation.

Stand up but in careful manner. Right now he needs you but if he sees you as a threat he may seeks to undermine you and he is good at manipulation.

I would just be firm but polite.
"I got this project under control Thanks for the offer but I will go ahead and finish it on my own".

If he states in front of others he is on the project then you need to clarify he is not or they will assume it is true since you did not correct.
"No X is not on the project. I got this and it is almost done."

If he comes for help on opinion then tell him that is "Interesting let me think about it". If he later comes back and presses ask for the application and suggest he get the stake holders together for meeting.

Get him in situations where there are questions he cannot answer. Allocate some more of you time with direct contact with the customers. Ask them if they have any questions. Demonstrate your knowledge.


You are being hacked, personally.

What do you do with a hacker? Leave them them a trojan in the golden french fry.

And just like dealing with a hacker you can't go all obvious about it like having an excel spreadsheet names passwords... subtlety is key and then manipulation is returned.

I chose the nickname blankip for SE because of dealing with an exact situation.

I was working with another manager in our NOC. He was a fishing buddy of the VP. He had no tech skills at all and have low intelligence. But he talked a good game and loved to take credit from anyone around. I found myself giving him bites to discuss at our weekly management meeting. I am not an overly jealous person nor do I like politics/brown nosing so when he said word for word what I was telling him as his own words to management I still had to say, "Dude didn't I just say that to you?" He would usually answer, "I just wanted them to know about OUR conversation. You are all good."

Well I took a two prong plan, that I suppose would work for you too:

1) Build up his bad ideas to him. Make him think they are genius. If he uses your name, clearly act like he didn't understand you right or you didn't agree.

2) Slowly introduce bad ideas and let him take them over. Subtlety is key. You cannot be obvious. Let the evil genius in you shine. Again, he misunderstood you because he doesn't really understand.

So the story goes... It was 1999 and we were a young but large network company. We were transferring from old equipement to new edge routers and getting our dark fiber connected. Lots of sessions on transfer speeds, BGP, reducing hops and so on. This manager was freaking clueless.

Let's call him Brian (which may be his real name). Because Brian knew nothing about networking, when we started a new security team he thought he should have a say in it or even manage it. We had a few test beds hacked and as a team we were trying to think of different security measures we should have in place for our Hosting accounts (we had major sites we were hosting).

I tried a few things to give to Brian that were ridiculous, but nothing worked because he didn't understand what I was saying. Then one day Brian came to me with an IP range that was getting prodded heavy. Jockingly I said, "Well Brian no one can hack us if we give the servers blank ips." He thought it was genius, revolutionary. After 10 minutes of us talking he walked away with a huge shit-grin on his face. I was elated.

Couple days later at our Thursday weekly we have us an 20 other managers (most way more senior and all super technical). When asked about an update on new security implementations I started talking about our servers and even started alluding to address allocation (yes I know this means nothing to security) and I knew Brian thought I was jumping his idea. The next 5 minutes were the most magical 5 minutes I have ever seen at a meeting. Brian went on about giving the servers blank ip addresses and they would be impossible to hack. I can't even remember half the crap he said because half the room thought he was joking and the other half was in shock.

After he was done his buddy realized not only that his friend was a moron but he looked like a moron for hiring him. The VP cut him off at a point and said, "What the fuck are you talking about? Please shut up." Brian was fired a week later. His boss went off on me the next day saying that I made him say that stuff. Word got around office eventually - me I said nothing. I honestly believe that upper management was so impressed with my manipulation of Brian that they promoted me early. Who knows?


Your colleague is better at showboating than you and he is using you to boost himself, he's heading for promotion. This is common enough.

To mitigate against it stop giving away your ideas to him. Take your own credit where it is due. It's all good to help people out, but when you feel that you're being used (and it actually worries you) then it's best to stop. Eventually they'll go find someone else to carry them.

It really depends on how strongly you feel about it. If it's ground breaking ideas that make big changes then you should get recognition and if it was me I'd actually try and get involved in the implementation so people actually see me working on it. If not then you should shrug it off as a personality thing. It may not be worth the trouble and if it benefits the company or team who cares who thought of it.

Giving advice is part and parcel of working sometimes, who gets credit for the idea is less important than implementing it correctly. (Depending on the particular idea of course).

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