Magazine article Management Today

Problems? What's Your Problem?

Magazine article Management Today

Problems? What's Your Problem?

Article excerpt

Q: One of my co-workers is a credit stealer. Every time I come up with a good idea, she takes the praise. Every time I win a pitch, she basks in the glory. I've tried to say something to her before but she just laughs it off and says: 'We're a team!' I don't want to start whingeing to my boss but I'm worried she's going to sabotage my career.

A: The real danger this woman poses is not the one you think. It's altogether subtler and more insidious: a sort of secondary threat.

The chances are that everyone else in your office, including your boss, is already well aware of what she's up to. She seems cheerfully open about what she's doing and may even have convinced herself that, as a co-member of your team, she's entirely entitled to whatever credit and glory happen to be around. If you let this get to you, which to some extent you already have, you'll soon turn into a mean-spirited credit-hogger. And, perversely, the more you seem to be trying to hog all the credit - even though you may have earned it - the less your colleagues will want you to enjoy it.

Instead, let your co-worker carry on as she chooses. Find it funny. Go with the flow. Everyone else will know exactly what's going on - and will admire you all the more for your easygoing attitude. I'm not asking you to be saintly, just canny. There's a lot of innocent self-satisfaction to be gleaned from behaving unexpectedly.

Q: Over the past couple of months, I've noticed that about half the desks in our office are unoccupied; people are either working from home or out at meetings. With rent going up, it makes sense to move to a smaller office and encourage hot desking. My older members of staff aren't keen on the idea. They like their own desks, their own stuff and a set routine. How do I sell it to them?

A: I'm going to make a distinction that you'll probably think a hair-splitting one - but I don't think it is. Your older members of staff dislike the idea of hot desking not because they're old but because it's not what they're used to. You've said it yourself: they like their own desks, their own stuff and a set routine. All this makes for a kind of self-selected efficiency; so by imposing hot desking on them all - or 'selling' it to them - you may not achieve the savings you hope for. Even in office life, the immeasurable (a sense of one's own small territory and the comfort of the familiar) can be as important as the measurable (the cost of space). …

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