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Did a colleague mock my story without me realizing it?

In your email you described the story you told at the meeting. I won’t outline it here because most of the details are quite specific and will quickly give away your identity. However, if my opinion is worth anything, it sounds completely plausible.

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Yes, what you shared was the kind of business success story that doesn’t happen very often. But that made it worth telling. It certainly doesn’t strike me as grandiosity or self-promotion. It seems like it wasn’t about you at all.

Should you worry that you told the story and embarrassed your coworker? On the contrary, I think you deserve (dare I say it) kudos for taking the time to publicly acknowledge the excellent work of the person reporting to you.

To me, highlighting the successes of team members is the mark of a good manager. If someone embarrassed your coworker, it was the person who made the comment. But actually they should be ashamed of their own behavior.

I can empathize with people who approach modern business environments with a healthy dose of cynicism. In some workplaces it is even essential. But there’s a huge difference between rolling your eyes at a meaningless and self-serving management distraction and mocking a colleague’s truly extraordinary efforts.

If you are concerned that your accuser has heard the taunt and is feeling down about it, talk to him or her. Underline your sincerity and the fact that you genuinely appreciated their work.

But please don’t let the small-mindedness of one or two smart guys in the office force you to doubt yourself, especially when it comes to advocating for your employees.

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