Someone Is Taking Credit For Your Idea! Now What?
I have two really bad pet peeves that, unfortunately, I come across pretty often:
1. People who don't come clean and just tell you they don't know something. (I wrote about it on Inc.com in a post called, "The Power of Saying I Don't Know.")
2. People who take someone else's idea as their own without giving credit where credit's due.
Happens all the time, doesn't it? No company is immune and chances are, you've probably experienced both of them at some point during your career. To me, both are forms of lies and in business it's just really bad form.
Imagine a boss and an employee in a meeting. The boss has a great idea and the employee loves it. The employee then walks around professing it as her own. Should the boss say something to her?
Now turn the tables. The employee comes up with a really great idea, the boss loves it, takes it and makes it his own to look better in the eyes of management. Should the employee say something, and if so, to whom?
Either way, both lose faith in each other and the relationship eventually becomes hostile.
In the first scenario, if you see others taking the praise for your idea or another team member's, call them out, even if you're the CEO. If you don't, you're promoting bad behavior that you don't want creeping into your biz.
In the latter scenario, your managers need to know that their job is to manage their team and part of that means putting their team members on a pedestal and heralding them for a great idea. There shouldn't be any harm in doing this; in fact, I think it's an attribute of a great manager. It promotes other team members to contribute ideas that will just further their team's success and, as a result, your business. Ego in the back pocket, please.
At my marketing services company, VerticalResponse, I'm constantly getting great ideas from employees in every department that have made a huge impact on the company's success.
For example, our director of marketing communications came up with the idea that we should give free email marketing to non-profits. The program has attracted great customers who are making big differences in their communities, and superb employees who want to work for a company that's generous.
I'm always hearing ideas from employees about how to make our products better, and many of them get built and released into the wild for all our customers to use. Nothing feels better than hearing from our customers about how they love a new upgrade and how it's helping their businesses grow.
Even our employee appreciation lunches were an employee's idea, and they've been great at getting the team together and knowing one another outside the office.
If these employees were afraid someone else might take credit for their ideas, none of the above would've seen the light of day and my company wouldn't be where it is today.
Have you had an experience where an employee or manager took credit for an idea that wasn't his or hers? How did you handle it?