Anonymous Question

What do I do when I realize my manager might be claiming my ideas, thought framework, proposals, as his, when he talks to his manager?

My Thoughts

I have so many questions. How did you find out? What’s the context of that conversation he’s having with his manager?A few thoughts:

  • First, it’s flattering, in a way. This shows that you have great ideas that are worth sharing up a level. Nice confirmation, but I know how that feels.
  • Next, is it intentional? Sometimes, the boss isn’t trying to be malicious. He may even think that he’s doing it the right way by representing your ideas up the chain to make sure they get heard.
  • Is the net result still positive for you? Here’s what I mean. I had this happen, but it made my manager see me as a valuable person who made him look good. My ideas got heard and implemented. He gave me raises and promoted me. Would I have liked to present directly to the big bosses? Maybe. But, I also may have screwed up the presentation and not had success. As it was, good things were happening for everyone, and my career thrived. It eventually pays off for you.
  • Find ways to share your ideas with a paper trail. Send stuff via email so you can document that you initiated an idea. Find clever ways to CC other colleagues so that people can see the proof that it’s your idea. Just be careful and don’t make it obvious that you’re trying to call your boss out. That hardly ever ends well.
  • Step up to present your ideas in a larger group setting vs. just giving them to your boss. Present in a team meeting. Give a brown bag talk. Present at a department or company All Hands meeting. It quickly becomes clear who created the proposal/concept when you are the best at talking about it, answering questions, etc. I had this happen once with a group of reporters. My new boss (a moron) tried to run with the show. As the reporters dug deeper, he panicked and turned to me, “Uh, Larry. Can you answer that question?”
  • Find some way to have skip level meetings and presentations. Again, this is tricky and must be handled well. But, essentially, you want the upper management to see how you think.

Hope some of these help!

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