Q. I was pleased when my new boss arrived, because she seemed open-minded and encouraging of new ideas, whereas the last one would never listen. Now, I've found out that she's taken the credit for at least two of my best suggestions. There's no financial reward involved, but I still feel sick about it, and it has soured what had seemed like a good relationship.

Q. I was pleased when my new boss arrived, because she seemed open-minded and encouraging of new ideas, whereas the last one would never listen. Now, I've found out that she's taken the credit for at least two of my best suggestions. There's no financial reward involved, but I still feel sick about it, and it has soured what had seemed like a good relationship.

A. Of course, the important thing here is that the ideas were accepted and put into practice, no matter whose brain they appeared to have emanated from. Be warned: failure to accept this will make you sound like a mealy-mouthed whinge-bag. Transparent glory-seekers are frowned on in most business cultures, which is why the phrase "But it was my idea!" should never be heard to issue from you in public.

Cherry-picking ideas is what bosses do. Often it is why they are bosses. It is how they survive. You may as well complain about lions eating wildebeest or motorbike couriers farting in the lift. Learn from what happened and begin to move on.

Keep on good terms with your boss. This is another natural step in the business survival process. Forget past resentments while shoring up the future. Be crafty. Keep your ideas to yourself until impressible ears are around. Unveil your best thinking during the board meeting where the chief exec is present, or any other occasion when others are within earshot. Go for communal kudos but sound reasonably modest as you do so.

Q. I'm a straight man and I think a guy at work keeps making a pass at me. He drops hints all the time but makes a joke of it. He's not my manager but he is considerably higher in status. It's not an anti-gay thing, just an old-fashioned etiquette problem. At what point do I assume he's serious and tell him "no"?

A. Borderline business chat-ups always cause problems. Some people like to flirt but mean nothing by it. Others use it as a method of testing the water, holding the "I was only joking" line in reserve to keep ego intact in the face of a turn-down.

You have two problems here. 1. Do you object to the current behaviour? Sexual harassment at work - even between men - is defined by the perception of the victim. If this man makes you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to tell him to stop, whether he "means anything by it" or not.

2. If you don't mind his current patter, at what point to you know it's becoming serious? Study his behaviour. Is he like this with everyone, or is it just you? Has he ever tried to check out your availability? If the guy's just vying for an old-fashioned date in a polite sort of way and without putting you under undue pressure, you need to spare his feelings as you say "no". Either tell him you are straight or let him overhear you discussing your present partner, if you have one, or the fact that you have a rule about never dating a work colleague. Try to be discreet but firm. Don't put him in a position where he can be humiliated in public.

Q. Because we achieved our targets in the last year, we have been rewarded with a reprimand about "not stretching our horizons sufficiently". As a result, our new targets have been raised to unrealistic levels. We qualify for a bonus only when we've reached these targets. Can we complain?

Who set your first targets? Even if you set them yourselves, someone must have agreed them. You really are in a no-win situation here. If you fail to achieve, you lose your bonus, but if you play a blinder and reach the new levels, you will be proving the first theory about unstretched horizons right. It would be appropriate to push you all a bit more, but not until your pips squeak, and you should merit some praise for doing well in the first place. Sit down with your manager and try to thrash out a compromise. Challenging targets are all very well, but the sort that ensures you stand no chance of getting your bonus is not so much challenging as downright mean and crafty.

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