credit for ideas

Does it matter if your boss steals your ideas?

July 29, 2011: 11:04 AM ET

Having a reputation for being a problem-solver is a valuable thing, but relinquishing credit to a boss is often smart as well. With peers, it's another matter.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: At the company where I worked until recently, I had a couple of colleagues who were master manipulators and who frequently got rewarded for ideas and improvements I came up with. That was one reason why I left that job. But now, I seem to have gone from the frying pan into the fire. I just came from a meeting where my current boss talked about his clever new cost-cutting strategy without once mentioning that I thought of the whole thing and laid it out for him.

A big part of our performance bonuses and overall evaluations here are based on how many good ideas we have, so it makes me nervous that, once again, I'm not being recognized for what I'm contributing. A friend tells me not to worry about it because as long as I keep making my boss look good, I'll be okay. Is he right? — Too Anonymous

Dear T.A.: In a word, yes. With all the palaver these days about personal branding and blowing your own horn as essential career survival skills, it's easy to see why this situation would make you uneasy. Moreover, it's certainly true that a reputation as an innovative thinker is an asset worth protecting.

According to Peter Handal, the question is, protecting from whom? Handal, CEO of leadership development consultants Dale Carnegie Training, sees a big difference between peers who appropriate your ideas, as at your old job, and a boss who takes your suggestion and runs with it. More

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by VIP.