*Dear Tamara:

My boss keeps taking credit for all of my ideas and passing them off as her own! She gets all of the accolades and pats on the back, and never acknowledges me or other members of the team. How can I confront her about this without jeopardizing my job or ending up on her hit list?

Disgruntled Employee

Dear Disgruntled:

Though it’s not good for work morale for the boss to take full credit for a successful project without giving proper credit to the team and individual team members who have made significant contributions, the boss is usually the person credited with team successes and for assembling and managing a successful team. Bosses are also the ones credited with team failures and the one who takes the brunt of responsibility when things go wrong.

It is probably not wise to openly confront your boss and/or accuse her of stealing your ideas. This approach has the potential of sending her on the defensive and you may never get anything resolved. And you might definitely find yourself on her “hit list.” At the same time, I believe an employee should be comfortable contributing and presenting ideas. If your monetary success and growth within your workplace is directly tied to your contribution, I encourage you to make sure your contributions have a public face. What does this mean? It means that you make sure your ideas are presented in a public setting. Avoid giving your ideas to one individual. Present your ideas/proposals during staff meetings or in front of others. Most likely there are meeting minutes and some sort of an account for who says what.

You should also begin to leave a paper trail of your ideas and contributions. Communicate your ideas via email and keep copies for your records. Keep track of your contributions and be sure to acknowledge them during your next employee review!

Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.