Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, wrote a great piece on a way to keep your higher-ups happy and feeling needed without hindering your work. The secret? Put a deliberate mistake in your final piece.
One of Joe’s clients was forever ruining projects by insisting on stupid changes. Then something odd started happening: each time the client was presented with a newly photographed layout, he’d encounter the image of Joe’s own arm at one edge of the frame, partly obscuring the ad. “The guy would look at it,” Joe recalled, “and he’d say, ‘What the hell is that hairy arm doing in there?'” Joe would apologise for the slip-up. And then, “as he was stalking self-righteously away”, Joe said, “I’d call after him: ‘When I remove the arm, can we go into production?’ And he’d call over his shoulder, ‘Yes, but get that arm out of there first!’ Then I’d hear him muttering, ‘These people! You’ve got to watch them like a hawk.'”
Even those in authority want to feel useful and leave their mark. Let them do it without erasing your contribution.