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Chapter 17. Silly Boss Behaviors—Specifi... > The Credit-Stealing Boss - Pg. 177

Silly Boss Behaviors--Specific Situations 177 The Credit-Stealing Boss Few of us in the working world have missed out on this boss behavior. Mercifully, in most bosses it's an occasional behavior, but unfortunately, some bosses do it chronically and consistently. The credit-stealing boss doesn't miss an opportunity to take credit for any good idea you or other em- ployees come up with. It's never "We came up with this," or "Freddy had a great idea." It's always "I came up with it." Oh, yeah, when it comes to taking responsibility for failures, this boss is Teflon. Then it's your fault. So, how do you deal with this? Let's walk you through an example. We'll see how Mary, a manager, deals with Dirk, the credit-stealing boss. Let's set the stage and the characters. Mary is at the bottom of the management heap. She has 12 people reporting to her. In turn, she reports to Dirk. Dirk's boss is Eileen, who happens to be one of six vice presidents in the com- pany. Through hard work and a lot of smarts, Mary has assembled a top-notch team whose strength is generating new product ideas. Every year her team develops some of the best ideas in the company--and occasionally her team comes up with some clunkers. Mary notices that her team gets little credit or congratulations for the best ideas but does catch the heat when an idea fails. She recognizes Dirk as a classic credit stealer. He takes the ideas of Mary's team and presents them to the other vice presidents and the CEO as his own. And, of course, when something goes wrong, he suggests people talk to Mary, because that's where the poor idea came from. Employee Handbook The credit-stealing boss usually takes credit for work done by those working for him and places the blame on staff when things go wrong. Mary's First Step: Some Objective Thinking Mary is far from naive. She likes her job and is proud of her team. She is also concerned about the welfare of her team. Her first step is to think before reacting in any way. The first question she asks is part of her reality check. Is this a problem serious enough to warrant any action? Can she do nothing? She looks at the possible outcomes. This is what she comes up with. Mary decides that if she does nothing, there is a risk she may lose some of her best people. They might move on to work for more appreciative executives elsewhere. She's also concerned the lack of recognition will fester and damage morale. Then she considers her own position. Her ambition is to move up to be in charge of all product development. In other words, she has some higher career aspirations. Her own personal concern is she will be buried under the blame for the failed ideas. She considers the possibility that her boss is attempting to keep her down by stealing the credit for the good ideas. She must decide whether she can live with the possibility that her difficult boss may make it impossible to gain a promotion she wants and deserves. In her mind, that's a serious issue. On the flip side, Mary knows she is well respected. Most people in the organization know where the brains lie--with Mary and her team.