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‘Great idea, boss … What about my idea?’

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In a meeting with the entire department, you make the mistake of pitching your idea … as an alternative to your boss’s idea. You e-mail the boss afterward to explain your idea in more detail, hoping to smooth things over and pique her interest. But she isn’t talking.

Was your idea really that bad?

More likely, you pushed that idea too hard, says Liz Ryan, CEO of World- WIT, the global network for professional women.

“Truly, there is no magic number” when it comes to how many times you should try to sell an idea, she says. But the key is this: If your idea contradicts the boss’s idea, make sure you pitch it the right way.

“I always recommend that people say ‘Great idea! and what if we also …’ when reacting to a boss’s (or any coworker’s) concept,” she says. “That way, you’re not shooting down what’s already been proposed but adding to an already good concept.”

For now, it’s time to do some damage control. Next time you have a private moment with your boss, say, “I feel that I went too far in promoting my idea for the catalog design. I apologize if I was out of line.” And then move on.

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