“Self-promotion smells”

A very dignified woman once said to me, “Self-promotion smells.”  This is how many people, especially women, feel about self-promotion at work. Many believe that their competence should speak for itself, and that broadcasting how terrific they are seems a bit…well…oily.

But they feel caught.  They know that they need to gain visibility in order to succeed, yet they don’t want to become “that person” who shamelessly toots her own horn.  When facing that choice, many women feel more comfortable burying their accomplishments than bragging about them.

In part, our resistance to talking about our success stems from how we think about it. As long as we look at it as ‘bragging,’ we’ll naturally avoid it.

So let’s look at it differently.

Sharing your success is not an act of  self-promotion; it’s a contribution. Your accomplishment strengthens the organization, your team and your management. Let us count the ways…

  1. Your success holds important information about what works well.  Your win has the potential to make the organization smarter.
  2. Success boosts morale.  These days, most organizations can use all the good news they can get.  Why keep your good news to yourself?
  3. It strengthens your team.  Your wins reflect as well on your team as their wins reflect on you.
  4. Oh, and by the way, it helps you.  It increases your impact and increases the odds that you’ll get the recognition you have earned.

If you’re like many women leaders, you’re  SO DARN GOOD at copping to your shortcomings. Why be less transparent about your successes? As far as I can tell, that doesn’t benefit anyone.