This topic is highly personal to me. As a matter of fact and context, I also wasn’t going to write about it. However, I was highly encouraged to do so based on a recent action taken by a person who either knowingly, but I hope innocently, took credit for developing content that wasn’t theirs. It was mine.
There is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Although when the imitation is blatantly occurring, there is generally an opportunity to acknowledge and reference the source. Either verbally or in writing. Doing this can make a world of difference. However, it doesn’t always address the core of this matter, which is how too often people are disrespectful of other people’s creations, and claiming the work as their own.
Given the fact I am someone who communicates professionally, I am sensitive and aware of making sure my communications are clear, and my own. This wasn’t something I had to learn in a Journalism course. To me, it is a fundamental principle of doing the right thing. That is, giving credit to others, where credit or acknowledgement is due. Simple enough right? Apparently not. So now what?
Bringing this topic to light is one way to address it, and there are a number of other ways to do so. I’ll share some options of how to pursue this with you. For now, let’s remain on the thread of why someone might not give or recognize another person they should credit for their words, or work.
One of the reasons a person might not give another person due credit for their creations could be because they are unaware of the fact they are doing so. The word plagiarize comes to mind in this case. If you are reading this story now, I am going to hope this was a concept that was shared with you when you were beginning to write in school. Citing or referencing other people’s work is easy enough to do, and is always the right thing to do.
Another reason people may not give credit to others is because they don’t think they need to. Or, that if they make some small adjustments to what they are claiming to be theirs, makes it entirely different. Thank goodness I’m not a patent lawyer, as I know I wouldn’t have the patience and stamina it must take to attempt to cover all of the bases to prevent someone’s idea from being copied. However, in reality, we see this happening all of the time, as there appears to be either unspoken or undocumented loopholes which are leveraged to essentially mimic another person or company’s creation.
Other people who don’t give credit to others for their creations, and who are knowingly doing so, are compromising their values. Either knowingly or not, the outcome isn’t an enviable way of operating, and is devoid of any leadership qualities. True leaders and ethical people give credit to others. No exceptions, and no grey areas. Yes, this may sound harsh, but the reality is that there is plenty of opportunities for people not to imitate or claim the work of others as their own. More importantly to consider, is the opportunity for everyone to work slightly harder to be creative, and to come up with their own version of expressing or doing something unique.
Praising and acknowledging others work and their accomplishments should be a common practice, and the finest leaders and sports coaches do this on a regular basis. In fact, they often go out of their way to make sure that others are recognized for their work, even rewarded for it when it is appropriate.
Let’s circle back to having people in your life, at work, or on your team that support you. Can you easily cite who they are? Think about them for a moment, and the impact they have had on you. For the sake of conversation, let’s focus on the people who have supported you in a positive way. What would your life or work, or team scenario be like if they weren’t in it before, or on a regular basis? Have you had an opportunity to acknowledge them for supporting you? If not, consider doing so soon.
Now, let’s consider some of the ways you or someone you know can increase and perhaps master the art of giving credit or acknowledgement to others on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you to get started.
- Start each day with looking for a way to genuinely pass along a compliment to someone. Either verbally, or even better, in writing, as this will have a longer lasting impact.
- After hearing another person present information to you, let them know why you either liked, or have concerns about what was stated. You don’t always have to agree with someone to give them credit and support for their work.
- If you realize you have unintentionally leveraged someone else’s idea, words or concept, course correct and let them know you have done so. Yes, it might be uncomfortable doing so, but wouldn’t you rather “tear off the bandage” now, versus having the person learn about you not crediting them at some point?
- When you are in creation mode of any type, think twice about whether what you are producing could be construed as a blatant “rip-off” of someone else’s work.
- Think about who you are supportive of. Now think about the ways you are supportive of them, and whether you could in fact be even more supportive with a few minor adjustments? What impact will this have if you do this?
- Being aware of either your own, or someone else’s tendencies to either be or not be supportive is an awareness level that you want to strive towards. Consider the approaches you can factor in, and how you will increase your awareness on many levels.
The person who I discovered that is leveraging my work may or may not be aware of what they are doing. However, they will be hearing from me, or perhaps others who represent me to make them aware of the fact I am not a fan of what they are doing. Will this change their behavior? I can’t say whether it will, but I do hope they will learn a lesson, and perhaps gain an appreciation for acknowledging other people’s work, and not claiming it as their own.
TAGS: #Leadership #Plagiarizing #Business #Motivation #Personaldevelopment #Sportcoach #Team #Teams #Awareness #Selfawareness
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