How To Manage When Big & Bold Ideas Can Result In Backlash from the Boss

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May 6 2013, Published 11:05 a.m. ET

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Whether you are new on the job or an experienced employee, you may find it difficult to pitch bold, innovative ideas to your supervisor. Deep down, you know you have strong ideas and opinions about how a certain product launch should be managed or the manner in which a press release should be written. But what’s holding you back from communicating your point of view? Your boss!

Change, particularly at companies that move slowly and methodically, can solicit negative connotations. Organizational tradition and comments such as “that’s how we do it around here” easily lead to suppression or discouragement of fresh ideas. As one HR professional explained to us, “Unfortunately, the constant rejection tends to wear on me professionally.” As a human resources professional, she recommends mentioning your idea to your superior to convince him or her that the idea is their own. Follow up with your boss to help “expand upon” their original idea. If you get initial buy-in from your boss, chances are, your idea will lead to implementation.

There are other ways to cultivating your ideas at work. Consider these points:

  1. Show, don’t tell. A new idea is a risk – good or bad. Think about the financial aspects of your idea. Is your potential project or event a revenue generator? Detail how your idea helps the bottom line or creates a positive, public image of the company. Remember, money talks and perception is everything.
  2. Stop, collaborate and listen. Have you actively listened to the conversations in your office workroom or during lunch? What is the general mood? Is sharing your idea a good decision at this time? If you have office allies, get their feedback and let them help you sell the idea.
  3. Think beyond your current job.  If you feel you will be at a disadvantage professionally, the human resources professional we spoke with suggests that you start looking for a job with an organization that thrives on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. Or you can try to channel your energy into freelance or volunteer work.

If you want your idea to become a reality, focus on doing a great job at your core responsibilities to prove you have the wherewithal to handle a potentially new project. Your boss and colleagues will see your work ethic and commitment and champion your entrepreneurial attitude. If not, then begin the search for employment where your ideas will grow and thrive.

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