They stole my idea!

They stole my idea!

You had a great idea but it was the boss who presented it to the management and became the hero of the day. What to do in such a situation?

Imagine you spent evenings at the job developing a game-changing concept. Maybe your department was about to be rationalized away or the project your team worked on was stuck at the dead-end. You found a way how to make everybody happy and the world a better place, but after you presented it to your boss, he or she sold it as their own and took all the credit.

The first thing to do in this situation is to confront your superior in an appropriate way. Tell him or her it was you who came up with the concept. If this won't work you may also include those your boss forwarded your idea to. However it's not recommended to escalate the issue too much, as this usually causes everybody to entrench in their positions. A conflict also damages the confidence between team members which definitely won't bring you any further with your complaint.

It may not be what you wanted to hear, but if your superior is not willing to admit your merit and you don't need to be proved right at any price, you basically have no other option than to let it be. But what you should do is to make sure this won't happen again in the future, for instance by clearing the competences at your work place. It helps when a straight talk with your boss is put down on paper and shared with all parties involved. This prevents further “misunderstandings” and signalizes your boss that you still are interested on cooperation.

Yet if you can't work with this person anymore, you may confront the next higher management level and ask to be transferred to another team. Anyway make sure to stay professional at any time, citing factual arguments rather than putting forward your hurt feelings. They may be absolutely justified and understandable, but they hinder a unemotional discussion and finding a solution that is backed by all parties involved.

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