Stop Idea Leeches! Who Are They & How to Deal with Them?


First scenario: Your professor assigns you into a group and you end up working with a slacker, a procrastinator, and a perfectionist. Automatically, they look to you to be the group leader, assigning you to that dubious task without a vote (or your consent). 

Another scenario: You’re in the workplace, having a round table brainstorming session. All eyes land on you when a difficult problem arises. Your mind starts to bubble with possible solutions and ideas. But, nothing comes out of your mouth. Your brain turns to mush with overload. What now?

No matter the situation, if you’re smart, or at least sound smart everyone’s going to look to you for answers, solutions, and ideas. But, you know that already.

There’s nothing wrong with being the go-to person. But, to constantly think on behalf of other people, gets old, fast. You feel used. You give too much of yourself. You feel the physical effects of over-exerting your intelligence.

You probably think it’s just a “smart person” problem. But, I see this happen in the customer service realm. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to deal with the Leeches. You just have to be the most creative and always have the best ideas for handling different situations.

Some of the common side-effects includes irritability, a lack of personal identity, and burnout.

Another thing is physical exhaustion. And possibly gray-headedness. Think about the POTUS, have you ever seen one without gray hair after their term(s)?

Feeling used and like your brain is being picked by everyone becomes a problem when you don’t have all the solutions, but feel guilty for not helping with the problem solving.

I have this issue. The need to solve everyone’s problems, even when I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

In that situation, you need to step back, get the big picture, and remain silent.

If you’re the go-to person give someone else a chance to answer and give words of wisdom. Sometimes, their ideas might surpass anything you come up with. And, your brain will thank you for giving it a much-needed break.

Another way of dealing with Idea Leeches is to turn the problem back on them. Ask them for solutions. Be down right honest and let them know that you’re not clear on what the problem is, do they have any ideas on how it could be solved.

Most of the time Idea Leeches take credit for your ideas. If you sit in silence and allow it to happen, you might feel envious or angry. Why hadn’t you said something? But, remember, there’s no such thing as a unique idea. All ideas come from a “before time”. That means, your idea wasn’t original to begin with.

Unless you’re paid to update the software of the newest iPhones to take to market. Don’t allow Idea Leeches to use you and abuse you. Your mind goes through enough trauma just deciding what to have for dinner on a daily basis.

Give yourself a break. And, let others come up with the solutions.

Listen and maybe you can use their ideas to improve your own problems.