Dealing with a credit-stealing boss

May 28, 2009

You’ve Worked Weekends, put in the longest hours and gone over every last detail time and again to ensure that your project presentation is as perfect as it can be. And right on schedule, you’ve handed it to your superior to present on your behalf at the board meeting. But even as you sit back, confident of the compliments pouring in, your boss saunters out beaming, as the company’s top brass congratulate him on a job well-done. You, on the other hand, don’t even merit a mention!

Surprised? Fuming with anger? Like many others out there, it’s been your misfortune to be saddled with a boss of the type better known as a credit stealer. A common enough situation… But nonetheless, still a mighty hard cross to bear. Specially when your boss is a master at never giving credit to subordinates and declares every good idea, as his own!

So, what does one do in a situation like this? The first instinct, naturally, would be to blow a fuse. But that’s obviously not the smartest option. Not if you want to continue in the same workplace, that is. It’s far better to try and resolve things in a tactful manner, so you don’t end up pushing the wrong buttons, and yet get credit where credit is due. Here are some quick fixes on how to handle him!

Protect Your Work…
Get together with other colleagues whose ideas he steals and try and come up with solutions. For instance, instead of sharing ideas with your boss in private, you could present them at meetings where the minutes are recorded. Alternatively, you could write memos about ideas you have discussed and forward copies to the overall boss as well as other colleagues. Or keep things in writing, be it on paper or e-mail. So you can forward the original to your superior and another copy to his boss. That way, there’s no risk of your ideas not being credited to you.

Play it Smart…
Your ideas are obviously good, which is why the boss is stealing them. But it also means that he is probably insecure about his own abilities and may feel that you pose a threat. Try and turn this situation to your own advantage. Your boss is obviously not getting enough praise for his own ideas. Make it a point to admire your boss’ work and ask him for suggestions on how you can polish up your own and deliver better results. Showing him some respect may just throw him pleasantly off balance and turn the situation into a less combative one.

Develop a Rapport…
Try and develop a rapport with the boss by finding out areas where the two of you can relate to each other. Create a situation wherein you make him understand that good work on your part makes him look good as well. Especially when you regularly emphasise, how encouraging your Boss is!

Report to Bosses Boss…
It’s surely the last resort. But things may get to that point where no other methods work, and your boss continues to palm off your ideas as his own. In this case, you may have to report your boss’ behaviour to his supervisor. And then hope for the best. There are a few organisations which are open to taking proactive action but be prepared for the possibility of getting branded as a trouble-maker.

If you have faced such situation in your career, how you dealt with it? Let other know and benefit from your experience..


Leadership is really just common sense!

May 19, 2009

Yes, leadership is nothing but common sense. It is nothing mysterious or something that one must study for years to attain to. In fact, the best leaders are those who have had practical, hands-on experience in being one.

Leadership is a combination of common sense, practical skills and certain behavior that can be discovered and learned.

Roger Fulton wrote a book on Common Sense Leadership which gives solid advice combined with the wise sayings and findings of experts throughout history in aid of those looking to take up, or continue on in a leadership position.

Here are some excerpts from his book and quote selections he used:
Leaders know and understand their people. They treat them with dignity and respect.
Leaders recognize good work as quickly as they recognize poor work.
The best leaders become cooler when the heat is turned up. Crisis is the true test of a person’s leadership ability.
The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.—Sir Walter Gibley
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.—Martin Luther King, Jr.
The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.—William James

Leadership is common sense, yes, but it also take practical thinking to positively apply the common sense one has got. Throw the light of your common sense on this topic and let the light spread


You Are What You Wear

May 13, 2009

Rightly said, ‘Our attire, appearance and conduct is reflective of the corporate image’. If you are concerned about your career, you will be more concerned with looking professional than looking fashionable or decked out.

In today’s world of cut-throat competition and spirited professionals, office wear doesn’t mean just the formal wear. One has to carefully pick the right attire for all office related events, be it product launches, office parties, business lunches or office picnic.

Getting dressed for the office doesn’t mean leaving your personal style behind; yet it is important not to be a fashion victim at work. Make sure your attire is pleasing and in accordance with your functional imperatives.

Your everyday work wear speaks volumes about your attitude and commitment to work. Your goal to getting dressed for work is to project a professional, competent image, regardless of your employment level or career path. While formal attire helps present a sharp, smart and service oriented executive; needless to say, casual wear reflects a nonchalant laidback attitude.

Some organisations encourage employees to dress as well or better than their customers, especially for employees who meet clients. It doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more companies are joining the bandwagon of ‘uniform for employees’.

Best bet: Formal trousers/pants, button-down shirts with tie, belt and shoes that are in good condition, neatly groomed hair. Sarees, salwar suits, churidar kurta, trouser with striped shirts, scarf, manicured nails, conservative hair, jewellery and makeup for her.

Career killer: Not wearing a belt, mismatched pair of socks, wornout shoes, shirts showing gap between buttonholes, body odour, etc.

What is a perfect ‘meet the client’ outfit? The answer lies in taking extra care to dress up when you are heading for a business meet. Select clean, pressed and wrinkle-free clothes for formal business attire.

Your outfit should communicate professionalism. Make sure you pick good quality clothes that boost your confidence and determination. It helps to know which look gives you a polished, professional look.

Best bet: Formal attire, pantsuits, blazers or jackets, tie, belt, business shoes, etc. Indian wear or western formals which include formal pants or skirts (formal, knee length or longer) with smart shirts/tops for her.

Career killer: Shabby appearance, stained or wrinkled clothes, florescent colours, wild prints, athletic shoes, sleeves foldedup, loud make-up, messy hair-dos, etc.

While professionals and organisation are still grappling to give a definition to Friday Dressing, the first and foremost concern is professionalism.

Casual Friday is a welcome change, with employees getting a chance to put aside their formal trousers and tie to slip into corduroys or Khaki pants. Though denim, T-shirts and flip-flops are acceptable only in the most casual of work environments, more and more offices are accepting trendy wear.

But before you dress casual, check to make sure you don’t have any meetings that require formal business attire. Shweta S, a media professional says, “For Friday dressing I ask myself if I can meet the CEO today without being embarrassed about what I’m wearing?”

Best bet: Smart casuals which include trousers/corduroys/skirts. Company logo polo and jeans. Dressy pants and a blouse, sleek jersey knits, skirts and tops, matching accessories.

Career killer: Capri/threefourths, Bermudas, silver sneakers, revealing clothes, slogan T-shirts, miniskirts, spaghetti straps

A party is a party but an official party has a professional and a formal look attached with it. Office party is time to go bling but keep in mind that you don’t overdo it.

“Official parties are a great way to interact with your co-workers and to know them more closely; one must take care of things that can make you the topic of discussion,” says Kunal Shroff, a sales manager.

Office parties are a time to relax and rejuvenate. What you wear for an office party should be carefully selected to accentuate your personality. The key is to look graceful yet professional.

Best bet: Safest bet is to wear black; jeans and stylish t-shirt/top, matching accessories.

Career killer: Sexy outfits, revealing clothes, loud streaked hair, clothes you can’t carry, your nightclub-avatar.

Time to flaunt your colourful tees and sporty footwear! You can easily be yourself during office picnics but don’t go over-the-top.

“Many employees tend to get too casual in their attitude when they are away from the formal office environ and face flak for their activities,” says S Ram, an HR professional.

Best bet: Comfortable clothes, jeans and tees, jacket, caps, sneakers, etc.

Career killer: See-through tops, crop tops, miniskirts, etc.