Limelight Robbery: It’s the glory hog

The glory hog

Every office and every team has its own dynamic.  Any given project might include introverts, extroverts, bugle blowers, mood hoovers and even the occasional glory hog.

We all know what a glory hog is. They're the kind of person that races to the front of the stage to claim the team award.  They can be harmless, toxic or sit anywhere in between and there's even a chance they won't even know they're doing it.

Glory Hog David Brent

Having a member of staff who is purposely taking credit for the ideas and achievements of others, can sour the climate if any workplace.  If you suspect you have one in your office, the first thing you need to do is determine the severity of the situation.  There are varying levels of glory hog and some are worse than others.

Entry level glory hogs are likely to be driven by nothing more than the desire to impress. These minor offenders will probably just amplify their own importance or generally not consider the input of others, rather than claim to have come up with the whole plan.

There is little to fear from a slight glory hog, we are after all capable of rewarding ourselves unnecessarily on occasion. The problems arise when stealing thunder becomes a habit. Spotting such a pattern can be tricky because there is a good chance a seasoned glory hog will be adept in office politics and adept at covering their trail.

Spotting a prolific glory hog

As mentioned above, the glory hog will have a solid grasp of office intrigue.  In meetings, they are likely to appear friendly but may talk more than others and are liable to silence anyone they suspect capable of unmasking them.  For this reason, a glory hog will tend to shy from more open meetings and particularly those where multiple levels of staff are present.

One common trait of the glory hog, which is a big give away, is the way they speak.  They will commonly mention their own achievements and actions and seldom reference their team.  They are also more likely to use the words 'me', 'I' and 'my'.

The best way to out a glory hog is to operate an open door policy.  If you allow transparency and free lines of communication between your staff at all levels, glory hogs will find it hard to steal the limelight.

Dealing with a limelight robber

Catching a glory hog is hard enough, but there is no easy way to deal with them.  There are two best practice approaches and you should always aim for the first option before, settling for the second.

Those options are turning them and de-powering them.

Your success will determine very much on what kind of person you're dealing with.  If the glory hog is simply trying to over-impress, which is common in the workplace, then you have a good chance of reaching and reasoning with them.  If you have a hardened hogger, then you may be forced to settle with taking away their trumpet.

Glory Hog Cartoon

The glory hog gains ground by covertly taking credit for the achievements of others, but their power is diminished by outing them.  Once a glory hog's true nature has been revealed, they will find it very difficult to save face in the office. This will usually lead to one of two outcomes.  A de-tusked hog will either take the path of redemption, or they will seek a new pen in which to wallow.  Either way, the atmosphere in the office is bound to improve in the long run.  In the unlikely event you fail to get through to a glory hog, it's wise to seek meditation.

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About the Author

ALAN is CEO of CD as well as a qualified executive coach and a seasoned business mentor. He challenges progressive business people to step-up & realise their vision.

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