When my boss and I have contrasting opinions, he seems to take credit after realising that I was right despite initially acting dismissive at the time I advised him.

I have a feeling that this could be caused by not communicating effectively, how do you communicate efficient with stakeholders when you have a difference in opinion?

  • Can you give an example (even a mock one) of this happening, and your reasoning for thinking it is because of communication issues? – Sarov Jan 27 '17 at 14:26
  • Ok using an example today, my boss decided against introducing a new feature into a platform. I had told him a couple of months ago that I did not think that feature was worth introducing for the reasons that he mentioned today. Instead of saying 'you were right, he credited himself and what an existing client said who thought it was a bad idea' – bobo2000 Jan 27 '17 at 16:01
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    This might be something more for Workplace SE than PMSE. – Sarov Jan 27 '17 at 16:32

You know the old dating line, "It's not you, it's me". In part, this is what's likely going on with your boss. I coach with the use of the DISC assessment system. I find it a useful tool to help in communication. DISC essentially boils down to "When pushed, what's a person's fall back communication style".

Based on your limited example I'd guess your boss is a High C, with a strong High D influence.

  • A High C can be humorously described as a person who says, "Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim... more data, adjust aim, aim, aim, aim."
  • A High D is humorously described as a person who says, "Fire!". If you miss you can try aiming.

In other words, your boss is a data person and needs time to process. As a boss, they will have a natural High D tendency as well (Bottom Line Up Front, just the facts, interrupts). When combined this will result in the High D rising up and cutting short the conversation. Meanwhile the High C part is processing.

Your boss almost certainly knows the ideas are coming from you. They just don't have enough psychological safety to admit this after the fact. If you have an overall good relationship with them and don't need external credit, this is not a huge issue.

What you can try and do is not push for decisions to quick. Try and have two meetings for these things. One meeting is where you just discuss ideas, try not to weigh in with your own opinion at first. Give your boss time to absorb. Then in the second meeting you can push your agenda. The first meeting can even be just providing your boss with offline data.


I really like Joel's answer, bringing in DiSC that helps explain how people act in the work place. That said, I also think you do not have an issue here. Let your boss take credit; somewhere in his subconscious, he knows who is influencing him and you'll get yours soon enough. Even if he fails, he is validating your thinking, and no one can take that away from you. You will know when it's time to move on and you'll get your rewards then.

Some use this as a strategy, manipulating an idea to make them think it's theirs. Your mission is to get the job done. Use this to your advantage. Good luck!

  • Thanks, David. Great point about letting them take credit. The organization is not dumb. It will know your place in things over time. – Joel Bancroft-Connors Jan 31 '17 at 17:45

I think the actual question is how to persuade your boss into giving you credit for the situations where he took your advice / opinion and used it. If so, then the answer would depend on the personality type of your boss. Communicating with influent stakeholders may depend on their personality / the way they react in certain situations.

For instance - does your boss always use your ideas and take credit for them? Even when they turn up to be bad ideas (in the end) - he accepts the consequences? If so, then he might not realize that he's really using your ideas as his own. If not (i.e. he only takes credit for your good ideas), then an open 1-to-1 discussion with him might help (initially).

If you're a valuable member of the team and you can also help him see / understand that (and if he's a good leader) - then he will start giving you credit for your ideas. If he's not a good leader... then that's a completely different topic and what you can do regarding it is pretty limited.

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