I receive a ton of questions from my Inner Circle members about how to handle colleagues and bosses who take credit for their ideas and work.

Invariably, these questions come from the idea that this is unfair.

While others stealing your ideas sometimes does occur, it doesn’t occur nearly as often as most people think.

Here’s why.

There are two very simple reasons why someone else will get credit for your ideas when you didn’t.

The first is the idea that “nature abhors a vacuum.”

Companies don’t just need good ideas. They need leaders who have the power and influence to advocate for change around a good idea.

When you present your ideas in a less than impressive way, you leave a vacuum in the organization that’s begging for someone to fill it.

If you can’t advocate for your ideas in a way that causes others to pay attention, then someone else will (and will be associated with and often receive credit for your idea).

Sometimes, this is malicious, as in someone is intentionally undermining your work and is out to steal credit.

More often, the other person got tired of waiting around for you to inspire others to act around your idea… and they just stepped into the vacuum that you didn’t fill.

The second reason this happens is due to a lack of gravitas. Some people have a way with words. They just say the right words in the right way, and they get noticed.

Others can convey the same core idea but are completely ignored because they used the wrong words and said them in the wrong way.

So much of having the gravitas to be noticed, acknowledged, and credited with good ideas comes from:

  1. What you say
  2. How you say it

You know someone has gravitas when you explain your ideas to them and in a few minutes, they can speak publicly about those ideas in a more emphatic, confidence-building, and inspiring way than you can.

Is this fair?

Maybe yes; maybe no.

Is it true?


Ideas are easy.

Getting people to act on ideas is much harder.

The former involves having competence in your field.

The latter involves having gravitas so that when you publicly speak about your ideas, people don’t just listen… they act.

Business is won or lost not through ideas but through action.

Those who have good ideas are okay. Those who can get others to act on good ideas are priceless.

Gravitas concepts are easy to understand. But understanding how gravitas works isn’t enough. You must also practice and develop gravitas habits so that when you speak, others pay attention.

Like any other skill — whether it be playing basketball, playing the cello, cooking dinner, or any other skill since the beginning of humanity — it improves with practice.

If you want to practice your gravitas habits, I encourage you to check out my program Gravitas Public Speaking Practice Intensive. This 12-week workshop will give you the chance to practice your gravitas skills and receive feedback from other students, myself, and my teaching assistants. To be notified when it is available, fill out the form below.

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