My boss has a habit of taking the ideas I’ve come up with and presenting them as her own. Granted, I know that my job is to be there in support of my boss: to make her job easier and to make her look good. I like to think I have been as I’ve taken over leading team meetings, marketing for the department, and managing 5-8 of his former direct reports.  I've even started weekly briefings with her based on the MT model. 

When she does take credit for my ideas, it always seems to be related to interaction with other departments. I am partially to blame as I know that I would need her buy-in for those ideas to come to fruition. Because I have respect for her position, it is the natural, appropriate thing to do.
I am not about to go over her. I am not going to go to her peers and say something like, “Hey, I’m glad she decided to implement my idea.”
I’ve listened to the “managing your boss” and “one on one for directs” podcasts, and I’ve tried to implement a majority of the advice posited there.
Here are my questions:
Am I making too big a deal of this?
Should I be expecting anything from her? I’ve got my salary, so I guess that’s my reward. I think I’m looking for a few more accolades than Benjamins. I wonder if this has anything to do with Maslow’s Hierarchy.  I think my problem is that I’d like to get some of the recognition for my contribution. Apparently, I’m not getting any or enough of it. 
Should I confront her about my feelings regarding the matter? I’m not sure that would be effective. 
What would be effective in this case?

Jrlz's picture

I empathize with you.  Been there, done that, have the tee shirt.  If you should confront your boss or not depends a lot on your relationship and the personality of your boss.  If you think you can get away with it, I would bring it up and express that you are glad that she values your input enough to run with it.  I would approach it in terms of it being applied to your quarterly, semi-annual or annual reviews.  Express you are not looking for more money, but rather the exposure of being seen as adding value to the organization.  If you can get this Incorporated into a review, it becomes a matter of company record.   I would also look for opportunities to share ideas in environments where there are cross functional members of the company and ideally some of your bosses peers.  Surely, those in the company other than your boss will see the value in your ideas and may even draw conclusions as to where your boss "gets" her ideas. 

I have in the past had the exact same experience.  In my case, I knew the boss would see my confrontation as threatening.  In this case, I continued to contribute ideas.  This had two benefits.  First, it improved the company and by extension my situation.  Second, because my boss came depend on my ideas I knew I was a valuable asset to him.  In other words, I would survive any steel cage death matches when it came to headcount reductions - my boss needed me too much. 

jaleraas's picture

You are amazing!  "I would approach it in terms of it being applied to your quarterly, semi-annual or annual reviews"  I had never thought of that!!!  It's brilliant and her boss is the one who signs off on our performance reviews at the end of the year.  That is some of the best advice I've gotten in a long time.

My conclusion, before reading your response, was to get into the habit of approaching it with something like "Can I talk to Roger about that?" or "Can I pursue that further?"  That way I would allow her to make the decision as to whether I would be the main point of contact in a way that allowed her to still have a bit of control.  It sounds a little different than, "Would you like me to ask Roger?", which would sometimes get a "No, I'll do it" response from her. 

I love your take, love your advice, and love your over-arching philosophy.  Thanks!





asteriskrntt1's picture


Document everything you do.  Update your resume every quarter.  Continue to build your relationships/network.  I am not sure how you will introduce these in your reviews if your boss is not crediting you for them.  What are you going to do in the meeting? "Um, boss, what about accomplishments A, B and C? I am not sure that would go over well if she is already taking credit.

Maybe this can be a podcast.  What to do when your boss misses what you have done in the reviews.

vivianrollins's picture

How do you know that your boss is not giving you the credit? Just remember that in the end its all about the greater good of the company and everyone's contribution - recognized or not - plays a big role in the success of business.

You Career as a Bank Teller


jaleraas's picture

First and foremost, let me thank you for your response.  I've been with the company for a number of years, and I've been through this before.  It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen. 

Second, in many cases, I know because of meetings I've been in and emails that have come out subsequent to our conversations where the boss is cited as genesis of the idea.  

Third, our organization is undergoing some major restructuring and it might be that she feels a bit threatened.  This problem, which was only something that happened every so often, has happened a couple of times in the past month.

I've thought about this a lot and wanted some good feedback on the topic (of which I am extremely grateful).  I had a bad feeling that it might sound as if I was 1) not a team player (it's not all about me, me, me...I'm well aware) and 2) not grateful for having a job!  and/or 3) a big, fat whiner.  I don't think I am (any of those); however, this is one of those instances where I'm judged by my actions not my intentions. 

jaleraas's picture

You are absolutely right!  I do need to do a better job with my CMD.  Funny, about a 6 months ago I started a journal (notebook) where I have been keeping a list of accomplishments, which also served as my delta file. 

As far as bringing it up during my review, I will choose my words carefully.



jaleraas's picture



piratedave's picture

 "Maybe this can be a podcast.  What to do when your boss misses what you have done in the reviews."



dbsabzb's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

"I’ve taken over leading team meetings, marketing for the department, and managing 5-8 of his former direct reports"


Sounds like you are being recognized.  These are all pretty substantial increases in responsibility and visibility.

jaleraas's picture

Interesting way to look at it.  Thaks for the input.