Workplace Politics: Why You Won’t Get Credit for Your Work (Most Likely Reason)

Workplace Politics: Why You Won’t Get Credit for Your Work (Most Likely Reason)

There were times when I worked very hard and delivered. Hardly got credit.  I was very stressed.  

Joe is really average Joe. He is brought up as a good man. He has been to taught to do the right things, follow ethics. Most importantly, walk the talk.
It was an important meeting scheduled by the Boss. Joe and few peers are called. A potential customer is interested in a solution. The team has to commit. The boss needs the opinion. Joe is the domain expert. Also a credible guy. He has excellent track record.
But this project is tricky. There is good chance of delivering it. Only uncertainty is about how quickly they could deliver. The customer is really pushing for timeline. Joe does not want to promise something unless he is really sure.

“Joe, what do you think? Could we deliver? Could we take this up? The new account will make us really big”

Joe is still thinking. He hesitated. Then went on –
“The problem with the project is that it could take some more time than he is demanding. There are some technical and non-technical risks…”
Joe had been a good manager and he knows what he is talking.

Suddenly Martha jumps in – 

“We can do this. Let us say yes!”

work place politics getting credit

Martha is Joe’s peer. She has less experience. She had been doing ok. She may not be the best, but not too bad either.

Now Joe is little upset. He didn’t like to be interrupted. He wanted to explain the whole situation and risks. Then wanted to take the project. But the boss got what he wanted. Meeting ends much sooner.

Joe takes the full responsibility of the project. The boss had asked to take Martha’s help as needed. Mostly the project was pretty much Joe’s show. It goes okay, much like what Joe anticipated. There was some delay. But customer side there were business changes and they did not complain much.

Surprise ! Instead of Joe, Martha gets credit !

Joe is boiling in anger about the unfair world and the politics.

What happened?

There are many professionals who struggle with this kind of situation.

The Boss wanted the confidence and assurance. Not the data

Many people have lot of data. But they expect the boss to make the decision. They are just not used to taking decisions. The boss was under immense pressure and he had no time for full story.

Lack of courage to take decision is a big issue. If this is a behavior pattern for you, there is a need for introspection. Talking to someone who is away from your day to day life is better.

“Under-promise and over-deliver” – Applying in wrong context

Many hesitate too much to take decision. They are used to be very cautious and then over-deliver. But this leaves the main risk with the boss, throughout the project execution.

They think it is very smart to do it that way. But for the boss, it just adds to the stress. Along with delivering, the boss also wanted someone to share the mental burden.

Whoever shares the mental burden get a good share of the pie, irrespective of who delivered the project.

It is more about psychology, less about politics. The moment you conclude a scenario as politics, you will hardly find any way to break the pattern. If this is understood, there are clues to improve the situation. It is more about re-shaping your beliefs and behavior. Less about politics.

Check if your behavior pattern resembles the above in any situation. If there are stories similar to this, please share !

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5 years ago

Very interesting thought. I never thought, there could be such a reason behind boss’ behavior.