We all want to believe that hard work speaks for itself—but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the hardest-working people in an organization unintentionally fly under the radar. If you often find yourself not getting credit for your achievements and successes, perhaps you need these tips to learn the art of subtly tooting your own horn.
Many of us go to great lengths to avoid even the potential appearance of being prideful people, because let’s face it, no one likes boastful, arrogant coworkers. We put in our time, work hard, and hope that someone notices. This may seem like a good game plan, but it can backfire. You may find that you go unnoticed, unpromoted, underpaid, or even lose your job—all because your superiors don’t know what you actually contribute.
Taking credit for your contributions is not about boasting. When it comes down to it, it’s really about speaking the truth. In order to succeed in business, it’s essential that you learn to articulate your value. Here’s how.
Begin by simply accepting praise from others. This may seem like an easy task, but for many people it takes practice. Don’t deflect the praise or minimize your contribution.
If someone tells you that you did a good job, simply say thank you, then smile and carry on.
Don’t be self deprecating
All too often, we are self-deprecating at work. For example, if you struggle with time management, it may be tempting to frequently say things like, “I’m always late.” Unfortunately, that simply reinforces everyone’s idea that you are, indeed, often late. It is far better to strategically address your struggle by using a watch, setting alarms on your phone, and generally getting your act together.
Similarly, you may find it hard to handle interpersonal conflict within your team. What you don’t want to do is to frequently tell your colleagues that you can’t handle stressful interactions. This will simply lead others to view you as emotional or even flaky. Rather than telling colleagues how stressful you find certain situations, challenge yourself to believe that you can handle it. Read a book about conflict management, and begin practicing how to resolve disagreements.
When speaking with colleagues, strive to be positive about yourself. Ensure that others know more about what you are good at than about what you struggle with.
Speak well of yourself in the same way you would speak about a respected colleague. That means that you don’t share with others every thought you have in your head about yourself.
Keep track of your successes
Sadly, it’s easy to recall your mistakes, but more difficult to remember your successes. It’s important to start keeping track of your achievements.
Try to think beyond simple performance appraisal metrics. While it’s important for your boss to know that you met expectations, it’s more important for him or her to know how you went above and beyond them. For example, if you are leading a team that contracts out projects and you’ve managed to find more affordable contractors, be able to articulate specifically how much money you saved the company. Or if you are managing a new marketing rollout and you finished the project a month ahead of deadline, make sure you remember to share that, if the opportunity arises.
Not only can you share these victories with colleagues, when appropriate, you can remind yourself of why you deserve that pat on the back.
No person is an island. If you are doing great things for your company, there’s a good chance that there are support people around you helping to make it happen. It’s vitally important to share credit generously and openly.
Sharing credit is a fast way to build camaraderie, create goodwill, and help others feel more comfortable acknowledging your individual achievements. This is the best way to praise yourself without appearing like a braggart.
When sharing credit, it’s important that you don’t take a step backwards towards being self-deprecating. Remember, it’s not about casting away all credit in an effort to avoid the appearance of boasting. While humility requires that you share the credit that is due to others, honesty requires that you accept the credit that is due to you. It’s really that simple.