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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2005, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
My boss 'keeps stealing my ideas'
Someone trying to steel a woman's handbag
Theft of your work ideas can seem even less subtle
Everyone likes a bit of praise for coming up with a good idea at work, but what do you do if you are part of a small company where your boss keeps claiming your suggestions as his own?

Professor Nigel Nicholson looks at how to cope with such an annoying and unfair problem.

He also discusses how to best stick to your business plan when it runs into difficulty.

QUESTION

Nick Wilson, UK
My wife has worked for the same company for the past 19 years as a manager.

Over this time she has made several suggestions to her immediate manager who has either slated them or taken them to the directors and suggested them as his own, thus taking all the credit.

My wife has finally decided that as her ideas and suggestions are either ignored or stolen, she will resign.

Is there anything she could do beforehand?

ANSWER

Professor Nigel Nicholson, London Business School
Women often suffer from this kind of treatment.

But look on the bright side - she and her ideas are obviously valued. It's the credit she's missing.

One solution would be to put things down in writing, and also to arrange meetings to talk about specific proposals and ideas.

This could be done in a spirit of cooperation, emphasising her desire to collaborate with her boss for the sake of the firm.

She could request a review meeting at which each of them tells the other what they should do to give each other better support.

This would give her the opportunity to say that she would like more explicit feedback and recognition for her positive contributions.

But this is a two-way street - she must also be prepared to do the same for her boss.

Wish her luck from me.

QUESTION

Stephen Sims, UK.
I am a carpenter by trade, trying to manage my skills, accounts, reputation and family life.

This is proving very hard, and I fear all of my hard work learning a sought after trade is going to waste.

What am I doing wrong, and how do I start making the changes to help me achieve my goal?

People tell me to work on building sites, but I believe my skills are not suited for that any longer.

ANSWER

Professor Nigel Nicholson, London Business School
The key question is, what is your goal?

To be a tradesman or to run a business?

Many people follow progressions that take them away from their skills into broader enterprise.

You never lose the skills and knowledge, but you no longer use them in the same way.

If that is frustrating because you don't want to let them go, then yes, you probably should be employed to practice your trade in a more straightforward way.

But maybe there's a new life for you out there if you can learn new business skills and learn to love a new way of life.

You don't have to have one career or occupation for your whole life, unless that's what you want.

It's a journey. Hope you find what you're looking for.


To ask Nigel Nicholson a question about management or work place problems, use the email form below.

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