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I've been working as a software developer in this company based in Germany. For several months I've noticed this particular behaviour from my manager that may affect my motivation in the future.

In team meetings when I offer a solution to a problem, the idea is often rejected almost immediately whereas another solution coming from usually one of my colleagues is automatically accepted. After I'd noticed this pattern, I started discussing my idea with this colleague and then presented it at the meeting saying "I've already talked with XXXX about this and we agree to do it like this..." And 100% the idea is implemented.

We work in a very cooperative (non competitive driven) environment and the results suit my main goal that is doing things the best way. But if I start thinking about this issue in a more personal way I know that this is not very motivating.

The question is, should I address my manager directly about this issue? Or should I keep using my strategy in benefit of the team stability?

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    I had this, and managed to suggest the most cost saving first, which was instantly rejected. 6 months later they realised how much they had wasted after spending on another solution... Next time I offered a solution it was considered.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 6 at 12:24
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    @SolarMike, not all managers learn from situations like that. I would call that an exception not a rule. Jul 7 at 22:30
  • @NathanGoings are you classifying managers into those who can learn and those that can’t? Prrhaps we need tags for that.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 8 at 4:50
  • Does your colleague know about this "strategy"? Then try another one, if your colleague wants to participate. Offer the solution without telling you talked to X about it. When rejected, your colleague could argue that you have discussed this solution and it is the way he would go as well. See what happens.
    – puck
    Jul 20 at 5:56
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What I would do:

In private:

Hey, would you mind giving me feedback about my suggestion, what was the problem you saw in that approach? I noticed my suggestions get mostly denied, and I would need feedback to improve upon them, it might be that I just don't see some aspects that you may see.

  • I made it clear that I noticed I am getting all my suggestions denied
  • I asked them for feedback, so they can't just continue denying without giving a reason why
  • I showed them that I do value them and their feedback, and want to improve
  • I didn't make it seem like they are doing it on purpose or that I see it as a problem

The next steps would be depending on the response. Since I was polite and casual, I expect the response to be constructive and to help me in any way to get my suggestions at least properly evaluated.

If this does not happen, it's basically "I am not interested in your suggestions" and I would escalate it to whoever would be the person that could help me there, since it is an issue.

Whatever you do, you need to keep a cool head and not make the problem seem bigger than it actually is. There is basically no way they can get out of this situation unless they fix the problem or admit they don't want to fix it.

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    That is actually a very reasonable way of dealing with the issue and be clear about my intentions. Also fits the team culture. Jul 6 at 11:38
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    Also, the OP needs to watch out for confirmation bias. It could be that the times suggestions are rejected stand out more prominently in OP's mind than the times that suggestions were accepted.
    – Eric
    Jul 6 at 19:35
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    Or indicate that there is no problem: i.e, prove that in all cases the suggestions were legitimately sub-optimal Jul 6 at 22:05
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    I agree, but would remove the part about "my suggestions get mostly denied". Each time a suggestion is made and denied, have this conversation with the boss as soon afterward as possible and address this suggestion only. Either OP will learn what the manager wants and more suggestions will meet these expectations, or a pattern of ignoring OP no matter what will emerge.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 7 at 12:55
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Talk to your manager.

Given the fact that you say that it might affect your motivation (and so your performance) in the future, this is something you want to prevent. If it is something that you want, you could talk to and verify with your colleagues first, see if they have the same experience as you, both in that their ideas get rejected or that they also notice your ideas are always rejected. If you want, you could also ask them if they know why this might happen, but it is possible that they will not answer.

Then talk to your manager in a non-confrontational way. Tell them that you have a feeling that your ideas are not appreciated and ask them whether there is a reason or if there is something that you can change. Don't talk about your motivation declining, or say that is is unfair or something in that tone. Just state your feeling, and ask if there is a reason.

It's not a good idea to keep to your strategy 'for the good of the team'. Unhappy people do not contribute to the 'balance' of the team as you call it.

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  • I valuate your answer just I would prefer not talk with other colleagues about this subject. I think you are right and I should address the issue without personal confrontation Jul 6 at 11:36
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    That is fair. I'll edit my answer to emphasize the optionality of talking with the co-workers.
    – Jeroen
    Jul 6 at 12:12
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IMHO this is a rather simple issue. I would address it as follows.

For the next couple of months, continue discussing ideas with the colleague before team meeting, continue stating you have done it during the meeting.

Observe two things:

  • how much does the discussion change your original idea
  • does the result work out well or perhaps your original idea could have worked better.

This should tell you if

  • the other worker is being listened to because he has proven to be more competent than you (for whatever reason)
  • or you are being discriminated against and your ideas are "not worth the time to listen to".

Do note that any discussion brings improvement 1, 2, 3. You are looking for large improvements, or large misjudgements being identified, or significantly better knowledge of the technology or business.

Another option to determine which of the two is happening is to continue discussing but stop mentioning it.

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