Hijacking your ideas and presenting them as their own?

Any advice on how to approach another PM on my team who is regularly taking my ideas and packaging them as their own…

  1. to me (even explaining them back to me), and
  2. our manager Often, they’re already in my product’s roadmap.

It’s extremely frustrating.


I love this question and understand why it’s frustrating. Looking at it differently though, collaboration and sharing is what makes us all better as a company and team. Building off each other’s ideas is what makes us better! Do you feel like you’re not getting proper credit for your ideas? Or do you feel like the team member is patronizing?


I would be straight up with your manager about what you’re perceiving and how you’re feeling. Your manager likely has context and may even be seeing this dynamic play out.


Great follow ups @MariaWilson! Absolutely agree on your collaboration point, the best features and products I’ve been involved in have come off that bouncing around of ideas. I don’t believe in the “my idea” concept/But in this case, there’s no bouncing around and collab happening. It’s just being taken, and then presented in their plans (and in meetings I’m not in )More so than not getting credit (which I’d be lying if I said didn’t bother me) – it does a few things:

  • it’s on my roadmap already – that affects my work streams plans and staffing
  • it makes me not want to talk informally about ideas (i.e. 1:1s) with them
  • and yea, I guess it feels sort of patronizing…like “Yes, I know why it’s relevant…it’s my idea!”

I like the recommendation to talk to your manager in this circumstance. Come with examples and details, but try to be direct (not emotional) and curious. Coming in defensive can make it worse. (I often practice my words with a friend/coworker before!)
Ideally, you could have this conversation with your offending coworker in advance, but it sounds like they might be defensive or worse gaslight you.


Yes I would prefer to address the situation with them before going to our manager. Good advice on talk prep to ensure message is delivered right.
I have a feeling they’re not really aware of what they’re doing or how it’s coming off – and we have a great relationship otherwise.


Talking to your coworker can be hard but I find it to be the best place to start. It’s a real sign of leadership to sort out these issues on your own and not need your manager’s help! They have enough going on!


Been there… Best what you can do is to sell your stuff to the interested people (e.g. your manager) before he steals and does that then. That will discredit and make him look silly.


One small suggestion for your co-worker conversation, if you can use some curiosity techniques (how and what questions instead of closed q’s or ‘whys’) and also try to stick to things that are “unarguable” such as what factually happened and your feelings (like no “you statements”). Acknowledge that you want to make an impact and when you share an idea, you’d love to have them encourage you by being an advocate of you. You might also find ways to speak up about your ideas in contexts where it’s not just the two of you,
Fundamentally, though, I think we probably are all a little too invested in the idea of getting credit for our ideas. As an idea person myself, I think good ideas are in a way the natural conclusion anyone could draw, so focusing on relationships and execution likely will pay off much more in the long run than being credited with an idea.


Building on what @Donovan said, one of the most valuable pieces of career coaching I have ever received was to frame feedback in terms of behaviors, not attributes. It was powerful both for my internal monologue as well as when I would have tough conversations with a person. Sometimes I caught myself reacting emotionally when I couldn’t actually identify any specific behavior that was objectionable. This allowed me to short circuit any negative feelings (maybe caused by my own bad day or unrelated frustrations) before they solidified into my internal narrative about a person. When I did have tough conversations, though, it was far more productive to say things like, “the way you frequently cut me and other team members off in the middle of a thought makes it really hard to feel heard and puts me in a defensive posture. It also discourages the quieter folks on the team from contributing”. Instead of, “you’re a loud-mouthed jerk with no regard for others’ input”. The first is more actionable than the second, and allows you to frame the behavior as a problem you can come together to solve.


Even better if you can say “I notice that when I speak, I don’t feel like I finish my thought before you jump in, and then I feel defensive and frustrated” - as soon as a statement is a “you xyz” (or speaking for other people) versus “this is my experience” you’re likely to provoke defences.


+1 to what Donovan and Yuri said, you can use the situation, behavior, impact framework to have a dispassionate discussion with your colleague or manager. for example (I’m making these up):
situation : in last week’s roadmap review
behavior : you spoke to some of the items on my roadmap, such as [x] and [y]
impact : I didn’t get a chance to speak to those roadmap items and some key details were missed. I need our manager to understand why these roadmap items are a part of the plan and why they’re sequenced this way. next time we’re in this situation, can you do a warm handoff to me please? and I’ll do the same for you.


Just something that can help you structure @JesusRojas’ excellent suggestion with the SBI framework a bit more is this wonderful tool I discovered:

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Thanks everyone – this has been super helpful – really appreciate all your thoughts here.