According to new research from Citi and LinkedIn (see below), men are less likely than women to share news of professional accomplishments at work. Further, men also are more likely to view self-promotion as being in poor taste – which is perhaps why many of the women respondents expressed concern that their efforts to self-promote, which myself and many others encourage, will backfire on them.
So, how can an aspiring leader navigate this territory with her brand and reputation intact? Here’s what my go-to team of executive coaches suggest:
Henna Inam of Transformational Leadership: “As a leader facing double standards, you have to decide who you are going to be that best inspires yourself and serves the greater good. Act from your sense of values and purpose and let go of other people's opinions.”
Raleigh Mayer aka The Gravitas Guru of Raleigh Mayer Consulting: “A woman needs to remember three things: (1) Demonstrate the three “Hs” – heart, humanity, and humor. (2) Get more comfortable managing and recovering from conflict, controversy, and criticism. (3) You will never suit everyone’s taste, but keep in mind that while men may be threatened by powerful females (because we compete with them), women are more likely to be jealous (because we overshadow them).”
Bonnie Marcus of Women’s Success Coaching: “I have found in my years of coaching women on how to promote themselves that the most effective way to establish the credibility and visibility they desire without the backlash is to focus on their value proposition (the unique way they do their work that adds value to the business). Once they understand this, they can offer to help others achieve their business goals based on what value they know they can add. Instead of talking about past accomplishments – which might be interpreted as bragging – if they position themselves as having the potential to solve ongoing challenges in the business, it establishes them as a leader who is willing to work for the benefit of the organization and not for self-gain.”
Diane Baranello of Coaching for Distinction: “There are three words leaders should keep in mind when it comes to advancing their career ... communicate, communicate, communicate. Do it clearly, articulating the difference you make and why it is important to the business. Do it consistently. Do it confidently. In other words, don't apologize for speaking up, speaking out or speaking truth.”
Nancy Joyce of Joyce Advisors: "Include an 'I' and 'We' mention. Many women are uncomfortable using 'I' when self-promoting. Research shows that if you only use 'we,' you may not get personal credit. On the other hand, if you use 'I' you may get a reputation as someone who’s not a team player. For example, 'The brand positioning strategy exercise I took the team through has really paid off. We have developed some innovative ideas and the team has fully embraced the effort.'"
What’s your point of view? Is there a double standard when it comes to sharing news of professional accomplishments? What advice would you offer to a rising star looking to make a place for herself?