Glenford Smith | My ungrateful boss
Question: I notice that my boss routinely copies my ideas and then he presents them to his superiors or to his peers as if he originally thought of them. I am in meetings where this has happened. I am annoyed at this and several times I am on the verge of confronting him. But I don't bother; I just bite my lips and let it slide. Is this normal practice or should I get recognised for my original ideas?
CAREERS: Thank you for your letter. What your boss is engaged in is not the standard - you should know that. In some workplaces, depending on your position, it is expected that your boss takes your ideas and any credit you deserve. Some bosses privately compliment you on a great idea while others make it a big occasion and congratulate you in front of your co-worker, as a means of crediting you.
You seem to have a boss who does not give the necessary acknowledgement or show the expected gratitude. This is definitely not the standard office procedure. Rather than seething with emotions at what you are undoubtedly feeling is an injustice, confront him.
Don't go to him argumentatively and frustrated since he may genuinely not be aware of how you are feeling. Go to him in a spirit of inquiry but quiet confidence. Go to him privately - this is very important. Tell him specifically that you are aware he is using ideas that you have given him. Give him an example when you were in a meeting to make it concrete.
Also tell him you don't have any concern about him using your ideas, but it seems to you that he could give you some credit every once in a while for coming up with the idea. No matter how he responds, do not get angry.
You see, throughout their corporate life many managers are prone to 'stealing' other people's ideas without any feeling of shame or embarrassment. They might even feel it is their due - you work for them, remember. If this is making you angry, let your bosses know, but always respectfully.
There is nothing wrong with wanting credit for something you do at work. Some people work for the recognition they will get - the money comes second. If you stay one side and grumble to yourself, you are not helping. You may develop a bad attitude of complaining, which will eventually demotivate you.
Of course, many employees will see no problem with the boss' behaviour and would not take umbrage at it. For them, it is all a part of the job - once they are getting paid. This is perfectly normal too, but the fact that it aggravates you means that you have a right to speak out. Not everyone is wired the same way, and what motivates one employee does not do the same for all.
You must be comfortable with what you do. You must stand by your convictions at all times. My best wishes to you.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. firstname.lastname@example.org