Upper Management Passes off Your Ideas as their Own, Now What?

Your organizational culture will determine how the team collaborates and works. Often, corporate opticals may inadvertently propagate a heavily competitive environment where employees can behave unethically to get ahead. It all starts at the top. Many positions have an expiration date.

Other times, the corporate dynamics make it so you cannot trust colleagues. However, sometimes firms knowingly cultivate a hostile environment and pit employees against each other to squeeze out favorable solutions, outcomes, and headstrong competitive team members. We can see this many times when the Sublease OD is supposed to work with the optical manager, yet the optical manager is working against the OD to get ahead or use it as an escape goat.

If you experience such an environment, observing your co-workers in action is best. It can help prepare you for when someone attempts to make you look bad, incompetent, or undermine you or your work in front of your superiors.

You must also protect your work and ideas because others, including upper management, may take credit for your work. Worse, they may steal your ideas and present them as their own. Many times these people have done this numerous times and have a reputation in the industry. These people are also the time to make up rumors and downplay your accomplishments.

Identify Patterns and People

When it comes to upper management, colleagues, and even subordinates, you cannot generalize or jump to conclusions. You must observe their behaviors and actions to identify passive-aggressiveness, cheating, and lying patterns.

Being observant will help you identify the people who genuinely support you and your work and those who might steal your ideas, work, or sabotage your career. However, you must be cautious because bad actors often appear friendly or give insincere compliments to mask their true identity, underlying anger, envy, or resentment.

If someone ends up betraying you, do not let it affect your work. Continue to approach your assignments and responsibilities with full confidence and enthusiasm. They may have succeeded in their attempt, but their true intentions and actions will eventually come to light.

Document Everything

When there is a risk of theft or sabotage at work, it is best to document everything. Regardless of whether they are good or bad, keep a private log of incidents, interactions, conversations, meetings, assignments, work contributions, projects, collaborations, and even feedback for your managers and superiors.

This log can be an excellent record if you need to prove your worth, value, contribution, productivity, or version of incidents to the corporation, department, or superiors.

Most importantly, it may just help provide a clear and precise history of actions and incidents if upper management or your co-worker steals your ideas or try to sabotage you or your work. When the opportunity is given to clear your name, you will have a concrete record of everything.

Maintain Professional Conduct

It can be extremely discouraging and frustrating when someone steals your ideas or takes credit for your work, especially with upper management. While you may be pushed to the edge and find it tempting to say things or take certain actions, you must refrain and always remain professional.

Instead, update your log, keep your eyes and ears open, and learn everything you can about the person/s who betrayed you. You will soon learn that listening and observing are more beneficial to you than complaining or retaliating can ever be.

Moreover, restraint shows good character and professionalism, which is encouraging for any work environment. You never know who’s watching, and it might just be someone who can help you or vouch for your character and professionalism down the line.

Clear the Air

When such things as stealing ideas at work, you always have the option to talk it out with the person. Have an honest, open, and frank discussion about what’s happening between you and the concerned party. Have a witness with you and when you present new ideas have it in writing or have others be present.

While it may seem difficult to be completely frank with upper management, you must remember that they are employees like you. Never threaten or be aggressive, but try to point out past examples of their passive-aggressiveness towards you.

Make a genuine attempt to air out your differences. If the opposing party has people to back them, make sure you have someone with you who you trust. You can eliminate issues professionally and with minimal resistance if the discussion succeeds.

Whatever happens, make sure to document it in your log. Understand that these type of people will never promote you or mentor you. They usually are insecure in their business skills and are doing this in order to hold their own positions. Many can be threaten by your innovative thoughts.

Get Higher-Ups Involved

The upper management may be continuously unfair or corrupt. This behavior may take a toll on your mental or emotional health, sabotaging you to the point where it may harm your livelihood. When the upper management is not receptive to open conversations, it is time to take a stand.

Of course, this, too, must be done professionally. Try to arrange a meeting with someone higher up the corporate ladder. If possible, do some homework and figure out who the most honest and fair boss is among them all.

Present your concerns and be prepared to provide any documented incidents, supporting evidence, and witnesses if needed. It would be best if you had enough to show at least signs of passive-aggressiveness, intellectual theft, or sabotage.

Take a Stand

Unfortunately, without supporting evidence or witnesses, which may be tough to find, there is little you can do to make your case. Here, your personal log can come in handy. Point out the documentation you have.

Take a stand, and don’t be afraid to speak out about how the ideas, work, or contributions belong to you, not the person who betrayed you.

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