There is no doubt that sharing our successes and tooting our own horn is something that many of us struggle with. Whether it’s sharing our professional accomplishments, saying what makes our respective companies special or touting our personal successes, we may feel that we're engaged in a risky balancing act.
Share too much, and you come across as a bigheaded, self-serving braggart. Share too little and, well, you risk being a footnote, overlooked, and won't come across at all.
“Hide not your talents, they for use were made.
What's a sundial in the shade?”
Here are five approaches for taking back your bragging rights. By getting the "balance" right, you help others to celebrate and acknowledge your successes!
1. Don’t downplay your contribution.
My guess is that the last time someone asked you, “How’s it going?” you gave a passing response of "fine." It’s the trite answer that brushes over your achievements and downplays your contribution. Pay particular attention when you are talking with the boss. I was coaching a manager last week who asked, "Why doesn't my team share their successes? All they seem to bring me are problems!"
The truth is, others really do want to hear your good news.So, the next time someone asks you how you’re doing, do the unexpected . . . actually share your good news!
Bragging rights: Change your answer, and the next time someone asks you how it's going, brag a bit. Instead of “fine” try: "Going great, thanks! I've just finished [insert accomplishment/result]."
2. Keep a file of others' positive feedback.
Many of us often dismiss positive feedback or compliments. In fact, we tend to shrug them off. Someone will say, “Thank you for doing X,” and before anyone can say "valued employee," we're responding, “Oh! It was nothing -- don’t mention it.”
Someone will say, "Love that outfit!” and we'll respond, “Oh, this old thing . . . I got it on sale.”
But that accomplishment at work was something. If it was nothing, you wouldn’t have done it. If it wasn’t important, your colleague wouldn’t have taken the time to thank you for it. Especially on our toughest days, when things don't seem to be going to plan, keeping sight of our strengths can help us successfully navigate our challenges.
Bragging rights: Keep a record of the positive comments you receive, as well as your accomplishments. If you have completed a 360-degree feedback, keep the positive feedback comments close at hand and read them often. The people who shared them recognize these as your strengths, so you should, too!
3. Speak your truth.
During an emotional intelligence workshop at our company, SkyeTeam, we ask participants to write down their top three strengths. It's interesting to watch as participants then shift in their seats, look around and generally avoid writing down anything at all.
They're uncomfortable! Until we assure them that, "You won't be asked to share them," they won't put their pens to paper. When we discuss why this happens, people share that they feel awkward and worry about their self-perceived strengths being judged. They fear either being found wanting ("You aren't as good as you think") or trivial ("That's all you see in yourself?")
Does anyone else see the irony here?
Bragging rights: Recognize and celebrate your strengths. In fact do it now: What are your three strengths? Write them down, and I challenge you to keep this list visible for the next month. Whether you put it on the fridge or bathroom mirror or at your desk, the choice is yours. If you don't know and celebrate your strengths, how can you expect others to?
4. Put your best foot forward.
Get involved, whether at work or at organizations you belong to outside of the office. Being visible is a way to demonstrate your strengths without having to overtly toot your horn. If others see you contributing in ways outside of your job description, you increase the chance that you will stop being type-cast or overlooked for future opportunities.
Bragging rights: Volunteer for projects, teams, committees. Offer to deliver a necessary presentation, to prepare the presentation. Put down your name to coach the new employee Whatever it takes to showcase your talents, do it; and be seen as the "go-to" person.
5. Share the accolades.
When it comes to bragging,one of the worst mistakes you can make is to take credit for others' work. However, one of the most overlooked opportunities for tooting your own horn occurs when you can share the accolades with others.
Bragging rights: Be an advocate for others, share the recognition and in doing so, showcase the contributions you have all made to the team.
“Without promotion, something terrible happens -- nothing.”
-- P.T. Barnum
Don' be shy! Bragging need not be obnoxious. Done right, it can shine a light on the talents of both you and your colleagues. What's the awesome-sauce that makes you special? Celebrate your bragging rights in the comments below!