“Hey Mr. Bossman! I have a great idea about how we can improve our company……”
“Well, Mr. employee, that seems a little out there. Let me think about it.”
Two months or even two years later…
Mr. Bossman says: “Good afternoon Team! We are here today to implement this great new idea that I have.” Hooray!
In my experience, it’s pretty common to hear from people who feel like their boss or even a team member has stolen their idea without giving them credit for it. The bad part about this is that it can leave a tension between people that can stick around like a student loan. So, how do you deal with that?
Getting A Patent On Your Work Ideas
Aside from real breakthrough, and patent-able innovations, most ideas can’t really be owned. They are just floating around in the air and can’t really be protected in any way. Especially when you are already being paid to have them.
With that being said, why do you want to protect your work ideas in the first place?
While there may be some legitimate reasons for holding onto an idea and even for wanting credit for it, most of those reasons are selfish. Let’s face it, if the idea you have is a good one, it should help you, your company, and even your co-workers.
That means there’s no reason to hang on to it or keep it secret. As for getting credit for it, read on…
Make Me Look Good
There’s really only one person that matters when it comes to getting credit…Your boss.
Let’s just face facts; one your most important roles at work is to make your boss look good. Don’t get me wrong, if he or she is doing things wrong, you shouldn’t be covering them up. However, if your sole focus is to make yourself look good without regard for how your boss looks, then your career is going to be in big trouble.
Focusing your energy on doing the best job you can while bringing new ideas to the table will only do you good in the long run. He or she has the power to bring your career the attention you want or leave it in the dark. I say, let the light shine on in!
Share and Share Alike
I used to be overly concerned with who got credit for ideas. Like the ideas I had were so awesome that nobody else deserved them. They were Bob’s Billion Dollar Ideas…Thanks for playing!
But, over time, I realized that it just doesn’t matter who gets credit. If the idea is good, everyone wins!
The energy I would expend worrying about who instead of what, was much better spent generating new ideas and sharing them. Getting that creative flow going between bosses and team members can help blossom an amazing culture. I’d much rather be known for helping to create a culture of innovation than being known as a stingy, jealous genius!
I Had A Good Run
If you’ve ever watched the show “Married With Children” you will know Al. Al (a middle aged shoe salesman) sat on the couch a good part of the show talking about highlights from his high school football career. It was pretty sad and pretty funny at the same time.
Ideas in business are a lot like this. You may have one today that is amazing! Your boss may even implement it right away. Good for you!
The problem here is that it doesn’t end and is quickly forgotten. There are more ideas out there than you can shake a stick at. Yep, I said “shake a stick at”! So, don’t let the one idea you had stolen keep you from sharing the next one. And certainly don’t let it stop you from helping your team do the same!
Question: Have you had a co-worker or boss steal an idea? How did you handle it?