What to Do When Someone Takes Credit for Your Idea

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The Situation

Katie is the COO of a hospitality company. She has a keen strategic mind. In a contentious moment, she recommends that the C-suite move toward a new talent strategy. The idea is met with resistance. Then Dave, the head of IT, restates her idea in his own words. The rest of the C-suite supports him in “his” idea.

 

It’s not a matter of if this situation happens, but when: You competently make a point. It goes unacknowledged or is tersely rejected. Minutes or days later, a colleague or manager misrepresents your point as their own, restates it identically, and is praised and credited for making it.

What you should say: “Thanks for spotlighting my point.”

Why it works: Spoken with composure, it:

  • prevents you from being trivialized by serving notice about the misappropriation of your contribution
  • allows you to reclaim your idea without aspersion
  • gives you the upper hand when addressing the matter with a manager
  • provides an opportunity for greater ownership, if delivered in front of others, by offering detail or clarification for impact

Katie didn’t skip a beat. “Thanks for spotlighting my point, Dave. There are a couple other topics worth considering in tandem with this. I’ll review those quickly and we can delve into more detail in the next meeting.” The group refocused their attention on Katie, and moved along to viewing her as the point person for the conversation.

 


This is the first post in a series on Super Simple  Work Tips (that work). Excerpted from 7 Tricky Work Situations, and How to Respond to Them by Alicia Bassuk.

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