What to Do When Upper Management Steals Your Ideas

Your corporate optical 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.

Other times, the corporate dynamics make it so you cannot trust colleagues. However, sometimes corporate opticals knowingly cultivate a hostile environment and pit employees against each other to squeeze out
favorable solutions, outcomes, and headstrong competitive team members. We have seen this with the OD/ store manager relationships.
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 other leaders.

Protecting your work and ideas is essential. If you are presenting a new software be sure and have a nondisclosure agreement before you present. Have patents and trademarks for your company and products.

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.

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 from store managers and OD leadership.

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, 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.

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 intellectual theft occur at work, you always have the option to talk it out with others in the organization. Have an honest, open, and frank discussion about what’s happening between you and the
concerned party.
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.

Get Higher-Ups Involved
When the upper management is not receptive to open conversations, it is time to take a stand. 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.
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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 timestamps, people, and events around the wrongdoings.

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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