Receiving Undeserved Credit
for a Job Well Done

Coworker Congratulations

Doing good work can and should bring accolades.  But what if you receive undeserved credit for an accomplishment?  

You can’t in good conscience accept credit for a job well done when you didn’t actually do all of the work or when other people deserve recognition as well.  And yet, correcting the person offering you congratulations would make them uncomfortable or cause embarrassment.

Deflection Is a Great Tool

Being acknowledged and complimented meaningfully is something we all enjoy.  And it’s just as enjoyable to give a compliment unless you give it incorrectly.

When someone has given you undeserved credit or congratulated you for something you had little or nothing to do with, deflecting rather than outright correcting can help them save face.

  • “John, thanks for giving me credit, but Bill Shrewsbury and Sally Henley deserve the bulk of the credit, as they did all the groundbreaking background work.  I’m honored that you consider me a worthy part of this team.”

  • “You are so kind to give me credit for the accomplishment, Todd.  However, my only mark on the success of this program is to claim a small role in the early stages of the project.”

  • “Gillian, thanks for thinking of me, and though there are many things I can take credit for, I confess, this accomplishment actually belongs to Vincent.”

Honesty Prevails

Getting credit for your work and accomplishments happens as you aim for effectiveness and do your work well.  Letting others know what you did, including meeting a deadline, what you contributed to a project, and the beneficial ideas you came up with are not conceited ideas. Rather, they are a way of keeping track of yourself and your work.

Being etiquette-ful requires that we be truthful.  In our weaker moments, it might feel easier to let a compliment slide and we know that another person may be struggling to find the right words in a conversation.  Our kindness will go a long way as we accept their willingness to be generous in bestowing praise.  However, any situation benefits from honesty.

  • “Millie, I think we should turn this around.  Here you are giving me credit, but I assure you, it’s you and your associates who deserve a round of applause!  Look at all you have done to bring this event to fruition!”

  • “Well, thanks for saying this, John.  But though I contributed with the original idea, it’s others who carried the ball and made something of it.”

  • “I’d be remiss if I didn’t seize this opportunity of congratulations to bear witness to the real person behind the scenes, none other than you, Tylor MacIntosh.  Our entire company should know who the real hero is.”

Seeking opportunities to congratulate others instead of accepting undeserved credit will make you feel great and will only enhance your reputation as a team player on the small and large stages of life.  Anytime you seek to prevent misunderstanding, you’ve gone a long way in making it a better world. 

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