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Getting the Recognition You Deserve

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Getting the Recognition You Deserve

By Michelle Yozzo Drake  

"Help! My boss is a glory hog who keeps stealing all my ideas and taking all of the credit!!!!!"

This was the frantic e-mail I received last week from a listener of my radio show - "Take a Break with Your Career Coach Michelle Yozzo Drake" - on WLIU 88.3 FM Long Island's NPR station. For the sake of her job, let's call her "Becky."

Poor Becky.

Having a boss who steals ideas and credit has got to be one of the worst situations an employee can be in. Why should someone else get the recognition and the rewards when it's YOUR idea in the first place, right? It should be YOU up there getting patted on the back, not your boss, right? After all, he or she has NOTHING to do with the success of your idea, right?

Right? Or is there a little more to the story?...

Look, we've all struggled with a sneaky coworker who backstabs and sabotages, and it's especially tough when that co-worker is your boss. But you need to really think hard about the situation objectively before you run your mouth and wind up gossiping and complaining to the wrong person. I'm a firm believer that negativity like that just saps your energy, takes a toll on your work, and can even make your team members a little leery of working with you. So rather than dwelling on the negativity, let's take a look at the situation and come up with some positive, proactive solutions.

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First thing you need to do is focus on whether the idea alone, without any action or implementation, would have done anything for the company. If your boss is the one who's actually putting together the team to get the work done, driving the execution portion, and it was just your creative idea that got it started, then I think that you're being a little unfair to your boss. An idea alone doesn't affect any change in a business; it's an idea coupled with action that brings about success. Be brutally honest with yourself: was it just a great suggestion you made (and you should DEFINITELY get credit for that) that brought about success...or was your boss - and your team - a vital element of bringing this idea to fruition and creating this success?

If you're a one-woman (or one-man) dynamo who came up with the idea and executed every element of it, then by all means, stand up and take a bow! But if there were other hands in clay along with you, molding this success, then you need to learn to share the wealth of praise and recognition.

Let's assume that you did get slighted this time around and you didn't get the credit you deserved for this great idea. I'm sorry for that because I know how disappointing it is to be overlooked. But now it's time to shake it off...and make sure it doesn't happen again.

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In the future, when you have a fabulous idea, I'd like you to think about how much risk you're willing to take for it. Are you willing to unveil your idea in a group meeting? It's risky because there are witnesses who will laud you if the idea rocks...and jeer at you if the idea is a bomb. If you can live with that risk, then bring your idea up in one of your team meetings so everyone knows who contributed it.

Another way to ensure you get the credit is to leave a paper trail (or in today's age, an e-mail/instant message trail). If you're sending your boss a new concept, copy a couple of other people on the email exchange so that you have something in writing. Let your boss know that you've included these other people on the e-mail because you value their insights and want their opinions on this, your great idea. With witnesses, the chances of your boss boasting about HIS (or HER) genius idea are greatly diminished.

Keep in mind one thing: while it's natural to want credit for brilliance, there is a fine line between getting your due and snatching at every crumb of recognition. Fantastic work doesn't go unnoticed, and modesty goes a long way toward projecting a professional image.

For more FREE tips on advancing your career and navigating the workplace, sign up for my FREE e-zine "Lipstick Leadership" at LipstickLeadership.com today! And check out the products I've developed to guide you toward the success you deserve!

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela