Do you often feel you’re not recognized for your contributions at work? The antidote to being overlooked or underestimated is self-promotion — the act of generating personal visibility within your organization. But, like political skill, self-promotion is often seen as a negative.
If you’re uncomfortable with the concept and practice of self-promotion, reframe old beliefs about visibility, suggest Gina Hernez-Broome, Cindy McLaughlin and Stephanie Trovas, Center for Creative Leadership faculty members and co-authors of Selling Yourself Without Selling Out: A Leader’s Guide to Ethical Self-Promotion.
What follows are 5 limiting beliefs and ways to turn them around to appropriately promote yourself:
Limiting Belief #1: Accomplishments should speak for themselves. The truth is a lot of good work falls under the radar. Often people believe they shouldn’t have to self-promote because good work will speak for itself. But many managers are surprised to find that bosses, peers and direct reports do not recognize their skills and contributions. It is your job to let people know about your work, why it is important and how it benefits others.
Limiting Belief #2: My boss is too busy to hear me talk about myself. Isn’t it part of your boss’ job to know what’s happening in the department? By keeping your boss informed, by providing the information she needs, you are, in fact, doing your job. Your very busy boss doesn’t want to pry things out of you: Tell her what is going well, where the struggles are and what you need.
Limiting Belief #3: Team players don’t take credit. Actually, high visibility benefits the team. You need to be skilled at communicating the value of the work and the talent of the people on the team. At times, your efforts may highlight your individual role; in other cases, you may promote another team member or the team as a whole. This type of promotion generates reward and recognition for a deserving team.
Limiting Belief #4: Not wanting to brag. Shift your mental model: view talking about your accomplishments as a way to help others who might be working on similar projects or task forces. Sell yourself as a resource. Think of it as walking into the spotlight rather than trying to shine it on yourself.
Limiting Belief #5: Discomfort promoting yourself. For a variety of reasons, some people are incredibly uncomfortable speaking up about their accomplishments. For leaders who naturally shy away from self-promotion, the key is to use tactics and behaviors that are effective and, at the same time, will maintain a sense of integrity and authenticity.
As Hernez-Broome says, self-promotion is a key component to a leader’s effectiveness and long-term success. To develop strong, effective self-promotional skills, leaders need to find a balance between over-the-top, obnoxious bragging and being overly modest – and overlooked.