[dropcap]Why[/dropcap] do people steal other people’s ideas? Why do some people take credit for the efforts of other people? You can find lots of words to qualify this act but the core fundamental word is wickedness. You know that the great job that has been completed was not your effort, or probably you contributed just 15% towards the success, then you went ahead and took full credit for the job; honestly, you are one of the reasons why the world feels like a bad place right now.
Okay, I am done with venting; let’s talk some real stuff. This thing is becoming a scourge. More and more people are indulging in this “win-at-all-cost” mentality and will do whatever it takes to get ahead; who cares if anyone gets hurt? It’s called the “me, myself and I” attitude.
It’s good to win but the manner of approach matters. It’s a wicked thing to take credit for the efforts of others, even if you have contributed your bit. Take credit for your contribution and leave it at that. I have read a lot of articles on how to address this attitude at workplaces but there are not so many people writing about the actual wicked act; the tendencies and traits that lead a person to commit such wickedness against another human without acknowledging it should be called out more frequently.
Let me make three important points based on the profiles of certain persons, who committed such acts, that I have interacted with during the last 18 years:
Ambition is good but over-ambitiousness breeds cruelty
There are many good people who commit this act of wickedness. If you allow over-ambitiousness to overcome your conscience, it’s a matter of when, not if, you begin to exhibit this wickedness. I remember watching Simon Cowell on X-factor USA say to someone, “it’s like a goldfish wanting to be a shark”.
If you want to climb up the ladder, be it corporate, community or political; put in extra efforts, run an extra mile, develop those reports, work harder than every other person. Do the extra lifting but don’t cheat other humans, else you will not be blameless. Certain people will say “I have to do what I have to do”; you should never forget that the people, whose ideas you are stealing are humans and have had to work really hard to produce those results.
If you want to be a good fella, limit your ambitions to the amount of effort you are willing to put in. The more your aspiration increases, the harder you must be willing to work.
If you are talker, don’t take advantage of the thinkers and doers
This is the title of a book that is in the works “Thinkers, Talkers, Doers”. There is an element of these three traits in every person but the predominant trait defines us. Most times, every team chooses the “talker” amongst them to make presentations on behalf of the team. Conscious carefulness is required for the presenter to understand that “we”, not “I”, made the project successful, especially while making the presentation.
I have met people who will acknowledge the team effort in public but will take full credit when talking to Senior Management behind closed doors. There is always the temptation to feel superior and downgrade the efforts of other members of the team, especially when you are the lead presenter; don’t fall for that temptation. Nothing breaks the team spirit faster than this kind of attitude. A lot of creative people like to live in the “shadows”; should they feel left behind; they might be forced to show up in the limelight thus compromising their creative tendencies, leading to major setback for the team.
The End Doesn’t Always Justify the Means, Do the Right Thing
It’s a great thing to always win but spare some thoughts for the men and women that will get hurt in your bid to get to the top at all cost. Whenever teams work together for the greater good of the organization, more is always achieved. The measure of individuality may not necessarily be evident to Senior Management but the joy of the collective achievement should outweigh whatsoever solo glory any individual seeks.
There are times that the end result is not a sum of its parts. The understanding that every member of the team gets deserved credit for their contributions will ensure openness and willingness by team members to get really creative. The attitude of that single individual who usurps the energy of the team may directly be affecting the overall performance and bottom line of the organization.
If the intention is neither to hurt anybody nor the organisation, then each member who discovers these tendencies in himself or herself needs to reconsider their values. You can be gifted and gracious (I heard this line in a movie); for a good team performance, the means is as important as the end result.