More than eight in ten managers (82%) admit that they have on occasion taken subordinates’ ideas and passed them off as their own, according a survey commissioned by business author Andy Harrington.
The poll of 1,000 professionals was intended to determine the causes of low morale at work. It suggests that 19% of managers questioned admit to stealing employees’ ideas “regularly”.
The research also reveals that almost half (46%) of ideas are poached by colleagues arching for a pay rise or promotion. The other 54% are taken by managers and presented as their own.
This had led to 93% of British workers harbouring suspicions that colleagues have gained an advantage at work by stealing ideas.
Only 12% of employees feel they receive credit for a good idea that is raised with or passed to a manager. These feelings can lead to resentment among a workforce; as one-third of respondents reported feeling “angry or bitter” towards their manager.
Almost all (95%) of this group said it has either prevented them giving 100% in the past or potentially would do in the future.
Harrington, author of Passion into Profit, said the aim of the poll was to “determine the extent of how praise, input and empowerment affects morale”.
“Quite clearly, people are working extremely hard for their employers but are seldom receiving the pat on the back – or the pay rise – that they deserve,” he said.
“The knock-on effect is that employees become increasingly reluctant to part with good ideas and less engaged and passionate about their jobs – a vicious cycle which, ironically, is no good for business and could lead to under-performing middle-managers losing their jobs.”
Harrington also warned that the power has now switched from the employer to the employee with the advent of modern technology.
“The rise of the internet means workers can turn their valuable skills and experiences into a marketable commodity on a global scale. There are plenty of people willing to pay professionals well for their insider know-how, if the company they work for isn’t,” he added.
Further reading on leadership How to influence without authority