Fixer: My boss takes credit for everything I do

Try to make a tyrannical manager change their ways, or accept defeat and move on?

I work as an L&D manager for a local authority and enjoy my role, apart from working with my HR director, who has for some time behaved like a tyrant. She imposes her ideas on the team to the extent that even when she asks for feedback she simply talks over us. She posts blogs taking credit for every initiative to come out of the department. She has even had a bigger and better chair than everyone else installed for herself. It isn’t easy to find other work in L&D where I live and I’d rather try and persuade her to change than give up, but this has gone on for a long time and I’m almost at the end of my tether.

I wouldn’t advocate fighting fire with fire in this case, exactly, but it’s certainly time to blow your own trumpet. You have good ideas and valid opinions, and by making sure they are heard during conversations with key people across the organisation, it will become clear that you are a sharp and intelligent operator. 

People will begin to realise not everything that emanates from your department is down to your boss, and you will build a reputation that will stand you in good stead for the future.

The behaviour in meetings and during feedback sessions is particularly frustrating, but not uncommon. Introducing a meeting facilitator during team get-togethers can be an objective way of ensuring everybody gets a fair say. But you could also consider introducing some psychometric profiling, which will make everyone aware of how they should be communicating effectively.

You can also tackle her behaviour more directly. Use appraisals and other one-to-one conversations to ask for permission to lead on certain projects, increase the parameters of your role and ensure what you actually do is more effectively communicated to colleagues.

If none of that works, a last resort is to call your boss out, making it clear your ideas have been stolen. I wouldn’t recommend it, as you will inevitably feel a backlash. And ultimately, it’s a sad fact of life that some people never change. Finding a new job might not be easy, but I wouldn’t rule it out entirely.