What do you do when you were not publicly recognized along with the rest of the team?

I'm not a manager, but hopefully will soon be one.

Today we had a large department wide meeting. At the end of the meeting, the VP presented Spotlight Awards. One of the awards was for a project I worked on. However, my name was not mentioned along with the five others who worked on it. All of the contributors, including me, spent about 10-20% of their time on this project last quarter.

Now, trying to think optimistically, I can justify why my name wasn't mentioned. I wasn't with the project from the very beginning, but came on a few weeks later. The project scope was not directly in line with my other responsibilities. Perhaps whichever manager that nominated the contributors for the award didn't realize the amount of my contribution.

However, pessimistic thoughts can't help but creep in. Was someone else taking credit for my work? I mentioned this project as #1 accomplishment on my last year's self-review. What was my manager thinking?

Any ideas on how should I proceed? Is "do nothing" even an option?

kevdude's picture

Hi Victor, a few questions for you:

Were you a critical part of the team? Would the project have fallen apart without your input? Did others see you as a resource to turn to for answers? Also, did the project manager include you? Did you "feel" included during the project?

The answers to these questions may give you a reason.

But - you also make some good observations. Depending on your company's culture, you very well could have been "snubbed". Management is full of politics, even the nicest of managers can have extremely selfish (even evil) agendas. From the information you provided, I don't think you were left off the list by accident.

As other posts in this forum suggest, it would be a good idea to set up a one-on-one with your manager and ask for feedback - ease into why you were left off the recognition list.

Unfortunately this is the downside of some workplaces. Others just love to take all the glory when in fact they did very little. The hard workers often get unrecognised. In fact even managers themselves are regularly the targets of other senior management agendas.

It is tough - but I sincerely believe that "what comes around goes around". I have witnessed "office karma" a few times to know that selfishness will get you in the end. In the meantime, hold to integrity - be helpful, cheerful, truthful and sincere - while at the same time being cautious. Eventually good will come back to you.

Good luck.

vxl119's picture

In a strange twist of events, my manager called me into his office today and announced that I was promoted. (A technical title promotion, not a new position.)

To my later question regarding me the only one from the team not receiving the seemingly deserved Spotlight Award, he said "Well, none of those people got promoted recently." He explained that my accomplishments were considered for my promotion, but management chose not to give me the Spotlight Award.

I suppose this makes sense for morale reasons. You wouldn't want to elevate one individual too high up and demoralize the rest of the team. Still, what are these managers thinking?

cb_bob's picture

Congratulations on the promotion!

Perhaps I am missing something here, but I would consider the promotion to be a greater reward than the Spotlight Award would have been anyhow. None of the others that participated in the project received a promotion, so it sounds like you have been recognized even more so than your colleagues.

My advice is to be proud of the work you did, proud of your promotion, and not worry about the award.

I would also consider apologizing to your manager for bringing up the topic of the award after being promoted. This may have given him the impression that you were not grateful for the promotion.

...Just my 2 cents...


aspiringceo's picture

[quote="VXL119"]You wouldn't want to elevate one individual too high up and demoralize the rest of the team. [/quote]

I think that maybe you just answered your own question.

BTW I'm with Bob on offering your boss an apology, "never look a gift horse in the mouth"as my dad was wont to say


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I regret my absence.

Promotions trump awards, unless this "level" doesn't officially exist. Most promotions come with raises... right? I'd take the promotion ANY day, provided it's sincere.

And what is this about elevating one individual thus demoralizing the rest of the team? That's hogwash. Your org is ostensibly a meritocracy. There are less promotions to give than there are people... get over THAT. Don't try to keep everybody happy - disaster. The company is not a trough from which to feed, it is a collective allowing for specialization of labor, some of which is rewarded differentially.

Again, my apologies for my delay.