How to stop other people taking credit for your ideas

Have you noticed how many female leaders report having their ideas ignored when they present them, then applauded when a colleague makes the same suggestion two minutes later? This is such a consistent problem for my clients, I decided to build a solution. Now, most people would start a project like this by asking why the problem happens. But I didn’t. Instead, I used a success modelling approach from Neuro Linguistic Programming. I focused on women who DIDN’T have others stealing their ideas – and what they do differently to rest of us. And here’s what I discovered. All of these leaders did three simple things that stopped idea thieves in their tracks. And YOU can do these things, too.

First, prime your audience to listen. Do it by saying “I’ve given some thought to solving the problem of xyz”. This signals that you’re about to present valuable information.

Second, present a plan – both verbally and visually. Use a document or a whiteboard to illustrate your idea. And if you’re using a document, put your name on it. This is a way of signalling “this is my idea and I’m confident about it.”

Finally, deliver a strong call to action. Say ‘To move my proposal forward, I now need you to do a,b and c.’ This changes the power dynamic, so that others have to act on your idea rather than steal it. If you’re struggling with having your ideas stolen, I urge you to try out these three steps. They’ll help you build confidence, impact and credibility – and stop other people stealing your thunder.