What to do when your colleague steals your ideas

What to do when your colleague steals your ideas
The Media Leader Jobs

Aisling O’Toole outlines four ways to deal with colleagues presenting your ideas as their own.

We’ve all been there. You have a great idea, share it with your boss or colleague, only to hear them present it as their own in the next round table. So far, so familiar?

It’s a situation that 29% of workers have found themselves in at least once in their career. With creative ideas the lifeblood of the media industry, it’s an issue that comes up again and again.

So what can you do when someone steals your ideas?

Stay professional

Hearing your brainwave regurgitated by another and be well-received by your peers is frustrating, but the industry is small and reputation goes a long way.

Address the situation with the colleague in question. If they’re slightly more senior they may have been pitching for you as a part of their role, in which case you can ask that credit be given in all follow up communication.

If they outright lie and claim the idea as their own, you can either reclaim the idea or let this one go — and change how you pitch ideas in the future.

Reclaim the idea

If you want to stop this becoming a bigger problem, reclaim the idea as soon as you can. It’ll also send a clear message that you won’t tolerate this kind of underhandedness.

Send a team-wide email acknowledging the reaction to the idea and offering support to see it through, referencing when you first spoke about it to that colleague. Those who know your work ethic and ability will easily see what has happened.

Look to yourself

While it’s often easier to play the victim, if you’re to prevent this from happening again then it’s important to look at your own work habits and professional housekeeping.

Creative environments shouldn’t be mistaken for casual. If you have a tendency to speak out of turn and communicate casually with no follow up, it’s time to address your own record taking and put everything in writing.

After you share an idea with a colleague, follow up with an email in which you state your idea and that you shared it with them. Pitch ideas on the team Slack channel where they’re visible by a group, and always keep notes of calls with colleagues.

Examine the culture

Is idea stealing limited to this one colleague, or does your employer encourage a culture that pushes workers to get ahead at any cost?

If it’s the former, you can adapt, if it’s the latter, it may be time to admit that your ideas will be better received elsewhere and start looking for a new job.

The Media Leader Job Board is full of available roles from leading media companies with opportunities available across all skill sets and experience levels.

Browse the Media Leader Job Board to find your next opportunity

Mediatel Jobs banner

Media Jobs