Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Stealing Credit Conflict

At a recent meeting, our manager asked for ideas to help sales of one particular product. I had discussed a couple of my ideas with a co-worker several days before this meeting, and my co-worker presented them as his own at the meeting. I confronted him afterwards and he said he had the same ideas before I mentioned them to him. What do you think about this?

You and your co-worker agree on the one critical fact in this situation: you presented your ideas to him, and he presented them as his own at the meeting. Maybe he previously had similar ideas, or maybe he did not. Perhaps he had something similar to them, but could not put them into words. None of that matters. You articulated them first, and they are yours.

Besides, if he actually had ideas that were similar to yours, don't you think he would have said something when you met with him? It is sheer folly for him to let a few days go by and then blithely contend that the ideas are his.

Unfortunately, you are not likely to change your co-workers' mind, and if you tell your manager that those ideas were yours, he or she is not going to know whom to believe, and that could lead to a bad outcome for you. The good news is that since you are capable of generating creative ideas, you are likely to do so again. And you are not likely to have them stolen again.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!