Taking Credit for Your Ideas
Ever say something at a meeting and get zero reaction but then hear someone 5 minutes later (if you’re a woman, it’s often a man), say the same thing and get treated like he (or she) invented the wheel?
I have been reading a lot about this lately and the approaches may surprise you. One article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “7 Tricky Work Situations, and How to Respond to Them,” suggests that instead of being a deer in the headlights or acting petulantly, say, “Thanks for spotlighting my point.” I would add that you could also say “Thanks for the support. Here’s how I think we can implement.” Be sure to always stay composed because you never want your behavior to be in question. This approach allows you to reclaim your idea and regain the floor, allowing you to expand on your thoughts.
In Forbes online, another article entitled “Women’s Ideas: Do Men Intentionally Steal Them?” argues that women introduce their ideas with disclaimers,which displays a lack of confidence. Whereas men declare their ideas. A man will say the tie is red. A woman may say, the tie is red, don’t your think? The trick for women (and often minorities) is to be and stay confident. Declare your thoughts and ideas and don’t try to persuade or seem unsure about your brilliant ideas. If you don’t think they are brilliant, they will seem easy to ignore when you deliver them. Next time someone “steals” your idea, take note on HOW they delivered the message. The key may be there.
A third article in MoneyWatch shares a much different point of view. In the article, “Is Someone Stealing Your Ideas? Let Them,” the author argues that there are no original or finite number of ideas. Instead, she recommends we stop worrying about who is stealing our ideas because those of us who are confident, don’t keep track of every idea we have everyday. The bottom line is that having an idea is not enough anyway. There’s plenty that happens between idea and successful execution so try not to obsess about this inevitable aspect of work.
Finally, a post on Huffington Post Canada entitled “If Someone Steals Your Idea, Be Flattered,” the author states that there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, if we were able to copyright ideas, creativity would be stifled. And that instead, a stolen idea is an opportunity to tweak it or better yet come up with another idea that will be equally, if not more, brilliant.
So you see, there is more than one way to approach the matter. You can whine and argue and call the other person out. But chances are behavior like that will make you look unprofessional and immature. Instead, you can
- reclaim your idea with a simple phrase.
- address how you are communicating your ideas and think about any verbal cues that make you seem uncertain or unable to make the idea a reality.
- allow the other person to have one of your many brilliant ideas that still needs a lot of work and execution, while you start work on your next idea.
- believe that imitation is the biggest form of flattery and that there is no rule against you improving upon or tweaking the original idea further. In the end your ideas belong to your company or institution unless you work for yourself.
Whatever power move fits your style and/or your mood, make sure that your behavior is always above board and professional. If this behavior continues, make your boss aware of it and then give him/her the eye when it happens again. If the behavior continues with no one noticing or at the expense of your livelihood, consider leaving. If your ideas are being commandeered consciously or subconsciously, then chances are that another company will gladly invite you on board and won’t take you for granted.
#powermovemonday #solutaionsnotresolutions You got this.