When Colleagues Steal Your Ideas
In theory, employees are supposed to be working together for the good of the company. As long as the job is being done and problems are being solved, it shouldn’t matter who did what or who came up with the plan, right?
Wrong, of course it matters. Nobody wants to put time and effort into something only to have someone else get the recognition. Besides the fact that it feels bad to not get the credit you deserve, being overlooked could have an impact on promotions, performance reviews, and raises. And in shaky economic times, everybody especially wants to make sure decision-makers know their individual value.
So what can you do when you’re dying to scream “Hey, I thought of that!” when someone else seems to be laying claim? Probably not much, unless you want to look petty and immature. Instead, experts recommend trying to prevent the situation from the get-go. While you don’t have to be a one-woman PR team, getting your name clearly associated with your work can leave little doubt about who deserves the recognition. Speak up at meetings so that many eyes and ears are witnesses as to who introduced the idea. Create a paper or email trail under your name so that contributions are directly associated with you, and use statements with the word “I” so it is clear that you aren’t merely reporting for a team (such as “I believe the company could save money by doing X instead of Y, and here are my reasons for reaching that conclusion”). Lastly, keep building an impeccable reputation. As you become known for your consistent performance and quality work, others will take notice, and it becomes harder for others to pass off your contributions as theirs without raising suspicion.