Sometimes, bosses do a lot of annoying things. But nothing hurts more than your boss stealing your ideas or taking credit for your initiative. It can be heartbreaking, and if you don’t have control over your emotions, it could degenerate into something else. In this article, I share some of the things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas.
A survey by BambooHR – a human resource company, revealed that the worst offense to any employee is taking credit for their work. It could make them feel powerless and unappreciated.
It is quite unfortunate that the attitude of bosses stealing employees’ ideas happens every day. And people who are still in the early stage of their careers are often the victims of such behaviors. That’s because they don’t know the right approach to resist their bosses.
However, if you have been in the industry for a while, you can easily discover subtle ways to talk to your bosses about it.
But generally, most organizations don’t take serious steps to address idea theft. They don’t have any clear guidelines or value statements that emphasize recognizing employees’ contributions and original ideas.
And this could lower employees’ morale, affect their loyalty to the organization, and possibly make them less productive.
Come to think of it, would you want to pitch another idea after your boss stole the first one? Probably not.
But why do bosses take credit for their employees’ ideas and try to undermine them? Well, let’s check it out.
Why Do Bosses Take Credit for Their Employees’ Ideas?
Before we discuss the things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas, let’s quickly look at the reason your boss steals your ideas in the first place;
- Some bosses are uncomfortable whenever they see employees who are smarter and more creative than them. They feel these employees are threatening their position. And they would want to protect it at all costs, even if it means stealing ideas from these smart newbies.
- Some bosses believe that whatever their team produces belongs to them. And even if they use your ideas, they won’t bother giving you credit.
- But some bosses have genuine reasons for not giving you credit. They believe that decision-makers would take the idea seriously if their names are attached to it.
- Sometimes, it’s a misunderstanding or an honest mistake.
Read Also: 5 Ways to Know that It’s Time to Get a New Job
Whatever the reason, it’s wrong to use someone’s ideas without giving them credit. It makes employees not trust their colleagues and makes them feel less about themselves.
So, here are 4 things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas;
4 Things To Do If Your Boss Is Stealing Your Ideas
#1. Evaluate the Situation Objectively
It’s painful to see someone else taking credit for your intellectual property. It goes against everything professional work ethic stands for. But one of the things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas is to evaluate the situation objectively.
I know you may have the urge to react when you see your manager or boss take credit for your work. Take a deep breath, don’t allow your emotions or anger to get the better of you. Resist every urge to react.
Naturally, you would want to right the wrong immediately. It’s normal, but that’s not you talking, it’s your emotional self. In a situation like this, try to be rational.
Any emotional outburst or reaction towards your boss could ruin your reputation. And possibly cost you your job.
So, try to be professional in your reaction. Stay calm, and maintain a high level of composure. If you are still feeling angry, bite your tongue, it will calm you.
Once you are calm, evaluate the situation and ask yourself the following questions;
- Is my boss stealing my idea, or are they presenting the job to other team members?
- Am I the only originator of the idea, or has my boss contributed to it?
- Have I received credit for this job before?
Your response to these questions will help you evaluate the situation.
#2. Get a Second Opinion
Getting a second opinion is also one of the things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas. But before you get a second opinion, you must be absolutely sure that your suspicions are right.
Remember, if you accuse your boss wrongly, there may be repercussions. It could even cost you your job.
The essence of getting a second opinion is to confirm that you aren’t subjective about your claim. If you don’t have irrefutable evidence and a reliable witness, it would be your word against your manager’s.
#3. Document Your Case
One of the most important things to do when your boss is stealing your ideas is documenting your case.
If you are making any claim that your boss stole your idea, you should be able to prove it. And you need a paper trail to do that.
So, gather every document that suggests that you are the originator of the ideas. This should include every note you wrote, the ideas, the document you shared with your boss, and the emails you sent.
Remember, the more specific you are with your claims, the higher your chances of getting justice.
#4. Talk To Your Boss
Once you gather all your facts, the next thing you should do is to talk to your boss. And it’s one of the most sensitive things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas.
It’s advisable not to go directly to the point. Discuss broader issues like your career growth, how the company provides the enabling environment for attaining these goals, and the projects you have worked on.
I must warn you – be calm in your conversation, don’t accuse your boss, and try as much as possible to avoid bitter emotions.
If you allow resentment to cloud your good judgment, things may go counterproductive. And you will take the blame. So, it’s important to get your timing right and be rational in your conversation.
These are the 4 things to do if your boss is stealing your ideas. Apply these smart approaches, and your boss will stop using your ideas without giving your credit for them.
But if every effort to stop them proves futile, it’s better you quit. You can’t grow in an environment where your boss takes credit for all your work.