What To Do When An A-Hole Gets The Recognition You Deserve

Frankie Kemp

19 May 2024

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You’re Sonia, the Yoda of data, who patiently guides clueless colleagues (like Hannes) through the treacherous world of pivot tables.

Hannes, during one of his dense presentations, suddenly gets lauded by the boss for “innovative techniques”: techniques that you taught him.

As you watch him soak in the glory, you’re simmering with anger.

What can you do when you feel your own skills and knowledge are being sidelined?

L. Michelle Smith, author of ‘No thanks: 7 ways to say I’ll just include myself’, advocates using your influence skills to learn from those who seem to be getting the leg up.

Some of you may be thinking that may turn you into a Class A Butt Kisser, morphing yourself into all you detest. However, you can adopting strategies that work for others without losing yourself.  It’s not selling out but showcasing who you are.

After all, who are you to deny people your skills and knowledge? To ensure that you use the talents and competencies you want to, it’s vital to let people what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

You need to start being acknowledged.

Research on this within colleges revealed that students whose rooms are next to each other are more likely become friends than students whose rooms are on different floors.  So the more you’re seen, the greater your influence. In a hybrid or virtual world, this means being more intentional about visibility.

So how do you do this without being a bragger or brown-noser?

Much of my business communication skills training focuses on balancing perceptions and actionable skills. So let’s start with the way you may be thinking about this situation and then progress on to actions you can take.

Change Your Perspective:

  • Embrace the “Ugh” Factor: It’s okay to feel a little frustrated. Bottling it up is like shaking a can of soda and hoping it doesn’t explode in your face. Acknowledge that Hannes might be, well, a bit much, but channel that energy into showcasing your own awesomeness.
  • Learn from the Less Than Lovable: Hannes might be all flash and no formula, but he does know how to “toot his own horn” Analyse his tactics and see if there are ways to promote your own accomplishments in a way that feels authentic. Here’s a non-icky way to do that.
  • The Proximity Principle: Not Just for Dorm Room Romances: Remember that research about students becoming friends based on dorm proximity? The same applies at work. Make yourself visible (both physically and virtually) to decision-makers. Drop by their office (with an actual reason, not just free doughnuts from their client meeting!), or participate actively in online forums and meetings.

Your Actions:

  1. The Humblebrag: There’s a fine line between bragging and subtly highlighting your achievements. Share your successes with colleagues, but frame them in a way that also benefits others. For example, “Hey team, I just streamlined the onboarding process, which saved us X hours a week. Anyone interested in learning the new system?”
  2. Checking in with decision makers: Senior Management isn’t omniscient. Keep them updated, or check in with them to ensure you’re on the right path so they see the front-line impact.  Drop them a message, not a version of ‘War and Peace’: something like, “Hi Ian, I’m working on the new Ops strategy.  Can I check that I’m on the right path before I hand it over? A 10 min. call should do it.”
  3. Be the Social Glue: Feeling isolated in a hybrid work environment? Take the initiative to connect with colleagues. Start a virtual coffee chat group, or organize a casual after-work activity (wine tasting and Salsa might be a recipe for disaster, but bowling or board games could be fun!).
  4. Share your Smarts: Don’t be afraid to share your expertise! Offer to mentor junior colleagues, volunteer for training sessions, or even write a blog post for the company website showcasing your knowledge.
  5. Befriend the Internal Comms Crew: The marketing and communications department can be your secret weapon. Collaborate with them to highlight your team’s achievements or suggest internal social media posts showcasing your department’s impact. Even easier is handing them photos of that mentoring in number 3, the activities in number 2 or any CSR activities you do outside work.
  6. Network, Network, Network: Building relationships with colleagues goes a long way. Connect with people from different departments, attend industry events, and generally make yourself known. Find it awkward to start conversations? Start here. You never know who might be the next person to need your spreadsheet wizardry (or salsa skills, if you manage to pull off that wine and dance combo).

Don’t let the glory grabbers dim your light. By following these tips, you can showcase your skills and get the recognition you deserve, without resorting to backstabbing or becoming someone you’re not. Remember, your talent and dedication are valuable assets – it’s time the world (or at least your office) knew it!

If you’re struggling with influence skills and using conversation skills to get your ideas across, then check out my communication training courses and choose the right one for you. Having problems getting your ideas heard with colleagues, clients or leaders?  I’ll help you get your voice heard.  Click for a free 15 minute Discovery Call here.

Leave a Comment.

Please note that for privacy reasons your email address is not publicly displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This: