09 June 2016

Is not giving me credit for something the same as taking credit yourself?

I work at a publicly traded retail company, in the general ledger/financial reporting department.
I used to be a staff accountant, now I'm one of the managers.
Well, I was promoted last June, but went on leave at the beginning of September, so there wasn't a transition of duties until I got back in January.
I spent January and February learning how to do my job, and really took over in March.

We have a chronic problem of closing the books late. Not late like LATE, just late like, the people who are doing it are at work until 10pm on the final day of close. So I mean, not late like it affects the whole company, just late like it affects the people in finance. It specifically affects the four people (me included) who have to wrap everything up once all entries are in.

In March, I declared that we weren't closing our books late anymore. I told my boss, I told HER boss, and I told the other two managers. We aren't doing this anymore.

I identified who normally makes us late. I made a point of checking in with them early and often, and keeping them on task. I took over some of their close duties myself, to make sure they were completed timely.
We closed March on time.


Luck, says the other manager (let's call him N).


For April, I did more of the same. Reached out to people ahead of close to make sure they were on top of their scheduling. Took on a few more things from my chronic deadline missers. Checked in and checked in and checked in again.

Before we closed, I told my boss, we're closing on time again this month. Remember this when I ask for a raise.

We closed April on time.


Nope, says N. I've been closing the books here for over 5 years, and we never close on time.

But we CAN.


May close.
We close on time.
N: Maybe it's that we're fully staffed now (we only were not fully staffed when I was out on leave)
N: Maybe it's that we (WE?) have gotten the message out about scheduling (WE??).

In March I said that we were going to start closing the books on time, something that had never happened in the 2+ years since I've been here.
We closed March on time.
We closed April on time.
We closed May on time.

Refusing to give me credit for this is annoying sure, but my mom said something to me today. She said, "He's taking credit for it."
No, he's just being obnoxious.
"All he has to do to take credit is refuse to give any credit to you."

And that is what I would like to discuss.

Is refusing to give me credit for a thing that I did the same thing as taking credit for yourself?

Because this is a thing that I did. We didn't use to close on time, and I decided to change that, and I did.
EDITED TO ADD: N is a senior manager, I am a manager, he and I have the same boss. 


  1. The other manager is trying to not to let you get credit so he doesn't look bad for not taking initiative. I think you need to only be talking about your success upline. To answer your question, no I do not think he is taking credit for himself. He is saying no one should have credit because he could never do it. I think you should just be promoting your own efforts and do an analysis on your own of the benefit to the company in savings or gain or whatever it might be. Just don't get into a thing of running N down for not having done it before. In effect, you were able to shine because you came into a poorly run area and took initiative.

  2. I think your mom is onto something.

  3. I don't see it as taking credit, more as being in denial to refuse to believe you are being successful as a defense mechanism. If this fabulous thing CAN be done and you are PROVING it can be done, then WHY didn't someone else take this initiative. In the end refusing to give you acknowledgement, credit, and accolades for achieving this is shitty and wrong. There is a possibility that by refusing to acknowledge your success that it paves the way for him to take credit, but I don't think it is an automatic conclusion to this. (also is your boss N or is it another manager?)

    1. N and I have the same boss (we are both managers)

  4. I had a boss who did something similar to this! Every good idea I had, I'd share with her, because she was my boss. At meetings, she'd present the idea as her own. She never acknowledged the idea as a good one to my face, just implemented it and then took credit for its implementation. It ate me alive.

    I agree with Celeste. This makes N look bad. Really bad. He thought it was something that couldn't be controlled and you showed him it could be. You're bad. For him.

  5. 100% agree with Celeste. He's not taking credit for it because he's been around for 5 years and never did anything to fix it, so he's blowing off your accomplishments to make himself feel better.

  6. Yeah, admitting credit to you doesn't mean "you're awesome" it means to him "I suck." Ego. Dumb. You were proactive and that wins.

    I wonder if there are other downstream affects to not having to "cram" at the end - decreased sick days among your staff after crunch that may show themselves? Or other things your staff can now attend to better because this lateness doesn't happen. That kind of thing is yet another thing to be proud of.

    And as to the "luck" comment - if "luck" is his persistent explanation for your diligence, I'd be inclined to put up (admittedly this is passive aggressive) a cheesy aphorism with one of the quotes on here: 30 quotes on luck making.

    If it's luck -- you MADE that luck.

  7. I agree with your mom. He doesn't need to outwardly claim your success to be stealing credit. By denying your success he is downplaying your 1) planning and organizing skills, 2) proactiveness, 3) business acumen, and 4) managerial courage.

    By downplaying that, he remains (sole?) senior manager, more importantly senior to YOU, and tenure remains more important to your shared boss than proven track record.

    I would tactfully email N letting him know YOUR action plan for the next 30/60/90 days to continue YOUR streak of closing the books on time. I would cc your shared manager, and close the email with "Shared Manager...Thoughts?"

    Then you appear a collaborative team player who is willing to collect opinions from your teammates...without appearing to just "stake your claim" on the success. But don't downplay yourself (not that you would). Make it "in light of closing in a timely fashion due to...(x, y, z)...I am planning to document the processes and put more policy in place..." sort of email.

    You rock. Screw office politics and the system. You can play the game, but play it smarter than N..

    1. I really like this idea. Office politics suck, but play that game like a champ.

  8. I think this is a case of You Doing Something Good = Means He Did Something Wrong/Not Good which OF COURSE could not possibly be true THUS it MUST be luck. I think it's the same psychology that makes people think your opinions or preferences on say, baby sleep mean that you're saying they did it wrong.
    - @jess_mccoy

  9. By denying you credit he is both protecting his own ass and getting the credit by default. He was never able to make this happen and you have done it within the first 6 months in your role. In his mind, you're showing him up and if he gives you credit he is also admitting he failed at this task in the past. A shitty thing for a manager to do. He could very easily give you credit for this huge accomplishment AND give himself credit by pointing out he saw your potential and put you in the position to make it happen. But nope, he's being an ass. Your mom is right.

    1. Ok, so now that I see he's not your boss but your peer I amend this to say - he's being an ass 100%. Because your ability to out-manage him makes him look bad. I would care not what he says or thinks. I would make sure your joint boss knows that what is happening is because of what YOU are doing.