Erin is a manager for her company and she’s got a problem employee named Rose. Rose is a mediocre worker who is only good at self-promotion. She takes credit for other workers’ hard work.
There was the time that Rose did nothing on a department project. But in the meeting with Walter, the company president, Rose talked like she had run the whole show and kept everyone on task. The real project leader, Tim, had to be dragged from the room before he could strangle her.
This year Walter decides to buy a booth at a local business fair and asks for volunteers. Rose naturally volunteers. Walter publicly thanks her while her co-workers privately bet on when she’ll actually show up.
The day of the business fair arrives and Rose is nowhere. Erin and the other volunteers begin setting up their booth by spreading a special tablecloth with the company logo over the booth’s table. The tablecloth is heavy and it takes three people to wrestle it into place.
Sweating profusely, Erin and the other volunteers return to the parking lot to begin carting boxes of brochures and promotional items from Erin’s SUV. By the time the last box is lugged to their booth (far end of the hall from the entrance), everyone’s soggy with sweat.
That’s when Rose shows up. She grabs a bottle of water and announces she’s here to help. She begins helping by criticizing the table display. Tim, who did the heavy lifting and is soaked in sweat, reaches for Rose’s throat. Quickly Erin jabs him in the stomach, pushes him back and tells Rose that she can rearrange the table as she likes since she’ll be taking first shift.
Rose doesn’t hear because she’s smiling and waving. Walter appears through the crowd. Rose immediately steps forward to give him a quick summary of how the booth is set up. Her sweating co-workers glare at her as she again steals all the credit for their hard work.
What can Erin do next with Rose?
- She can nominate Rose to lead the first team of humans to colonize Mars.
- She can assign Rose to low prestige and low priority projects where she will fade into oblivion.
- She can explain to Rose that stealing credit for the work of others is unethical and will have dire consequences for her career.
In the actual situation, co-workers eventually refused to work on teams that included the credit hog. Coping with credit hogs may require HR and the manager to create an individualized career plan that nudges the employee toward better work habits.
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