But what do you do when your boss -- the person who has significant control over your career -- is the one taking credit for your ideas? After all, being too direct or going over his or her head can get you into trouble. Following are a few strategies that might help.
* Think carefully before complaining. Let's say you spent weeks devising a cost-efficiency campaign that becomes a smashing success, but, at a meeting with higher-ups, your boss takes credit. You might feel slighted, but hold off on raising a fuss. First, make sure you're the one who truly deserves the credit. Even if you proposed the idea, consider the role your boss played in implementing the initiative -- he or she may have done the heavy lifting.
In addition, think about whether your manager's scene-stealing antics are rare or standard operating procedure. If the behavior is infrequent, it might be best to let it go and accept that all employees, at times, are expected to make the boss look good in front of the company's top brass.
* Put it on paper. If your supervisor often takes your best ideas from private conversations and passes them off as his or her own, consider changing the way you share your suggestions. For instance, you could present them in written memos or email messages. This establishes a paper or electronic trail you can reference later during your performance review -- or if your value to the organization is ever questioned.
* Get a witness. One way to ensure that others know a solution originated with you is to unveil it publicly. But whether you copy colleagues on an e-mail or make your pitch at a meeting, be aware that you're taking a risk. While it will be harder for anyone else to take full credit if your plan works, you're on the hook if it falls flat.
* Confront with kindness. If your manager's actions are hindering your advancement or limiting your visibility within the company, it might be time to speak up. But be tactful. Your boss will be more receptive to the conversation if, instead of taking an accusatory tone, you simply ask for guidance on how to receive recognition for your efforts. This enables you to get your point across without pointing fingers or putting your boss on the defensive.
Finally, in some situations, you might determine that it's wisest to say or do nothing about your supervisor's "credit problem." While it can be frustrating to watch your boss receive praise for your hard work or brilliant concept, there is a bright side: Your contributions and ideas are valuable and helping the company succeed.