Dear Christine, Polite in Pontiac

  • Posted on March 18, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Dear Christine,

I sit on the board of a well known LGBT organization in Metro Detroit and on two or three occasions I have shared an idea I had with a fellow board member only to have that board member, a supposedly good friend of mine, bring that idea to the board, taking full credit for the idea. He has also done that in personal situations; sharing my thoughts and ideas as if he never heard them from me first.  In these situations, I have pretty much been polite and kept my mouth shut, although the last time I shot him a pretty serious WTF look. I have shared other people’s ideas but always give them the credit, and then ask them to share the idea. Am I too polite? It’s been several times now and my patience is wearing thin.
Signed Polite in Pontiac

Dear Polite,

You are too polite!  Group dynamics on an organizational board are similar to the dynamics of our family of origin.  So, perhaps you were polite at home, and that was respected and your family gave you credit for your own ideas without you having to fight to be heard.  Or perhaps you had a sibling who was good at stealing credit from your ideas.  My own family dynamics are such that I prefer not to serve on a board, as my experiences were parallel to my family.

Think about your ideas.  Do you run them by others before presenting them at the board?  What are you looking for?  Suggestions?  Improvements?  Encouragement?  Strategy?  Maybe it would be more politic to voice your ideas at the board, so no one else can steal them.

I worked on a staff at an organization where one junior staff member Tom was superbly skilled at making our boss think that every idea was our boss’s idea.  And then those ideas were implemented never acknowledging Tom.   I, on the other hand, spoke my mind and presented my ideas as mine.  Usually they were shot down by our boss.  I didn’t want to play the game that Tom excelled at, but that cost me plenty.

Try sharing your ideas at the board and not with individuals prior to the meetings.  See what happens and if you get the acknowledgement you seek.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD


Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

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