Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Co-Worker Steals Professional Ideas

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a co-worker who is slick as all get-out, and I’m sick of her. We work closely together. Whenever we have brainstorming meetings, which is part of our job, in the next staff meeting she pipes up and offers my ideas to the group as if they were her own. It is so annoying and rude. I have tried to hold back my ideas in our smaller group settings, but then I am accused of not being a team player. I am often the one who thinks outside the box and who comes up with pretty cool concepts. It is frustrating to see her glom onto them and then present them as her own week after week. How can I gain control of my ideas in the group setting? -- Stolen Concepts

DEAR STOLEN CONCEPTS: You may want to start with having regular meetings with your boss where you talk about ideas. Try to get in with your boss before the big meeting so that she knows what’s on your mind. Get a sense of whether your boss likes your ideas, and talk about how they might be implemented. In this way, you have planted a seed, and you may find that your boss becomes your ally in the next meeting.

You can even share that you find it hard to get your thoughts out to the group before your co-worker blurts them out. Ask your boss for input on how to be more proactive in the meetings.