People are too busy today to go out of their way to find, recognize, and reward you in the workplace. The good news is that you can create the visibility and credibility you need to move your career forward. You can control how others perceive you in the work environment. You can learn to communicate to others what value you bring to the table.
The reality is that people need to know your value proposition. You will continue to miss out on great opportunities if you remain invisible. Yes, you still need to do a great job, but part of your job is also letting others know your accomplishments and those of your team.
In 2011, Catalyst published a study, “The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All the Right Things Really Get Women Ahead?” This research supports the importance for women to communicate their value for their career advancement. After following 3,000 high potential MBA graduates, Catalyst found that doing all the “right things,” such as being proactive, requesting high-profile assignments, and asking for promotions and raises, did not significantly help women advance their careers. What Catalyst found to have a positive impact on women’s careers was the communication of their achievements. Women who were able to talk about their accomplishments got more promotions and higher compensation, and they were more satisfied with their careers as a result. This research clearly demonstrates the benefit of promotion for women in the workplace.
Despite the fact that most women understand the importance of self-promotion for their advancement, they do not intentionally use it. We have been conditioned to take the back seat and wait to be recognized. As a consequence, we often have this inner argument about how to proceed with self-promotion. We know we should do more of it. We know we should be better at it. But at the same time, it’s much more comfortable to stay focused on doing our work. We have the mind-set that self-promotion is self-serving, and therefore distasteful. Even if we attempt to talk about our accomplishments and take credit for our success, doing this with confidence and conviction is challenging.
It is important to see that self-promotion is a leadership skill. It is your responsibility to talk about what you and your team have achieved, not only for your own benefit, but also for the team and the company. It’s how you create influence. It’s how you sell your ideas across the organization. It’s the basis of building relationships with key stakeholders and gaining access to the power networks.
From this perspective, self-promotion takes on a different purpose. You are letting others know of your accomplishments and your value proposition, and you are offering to help in ways that benefit the organization. Everyone wins. Your team benefits from your promotional efforts. They receive recognition for their efforts and success. You benefit as the team leader who spearheaded the project or initiative, and the company wins as well. The company can use your accomplishments to initiate other projects or ideas across the organization. They can use your success metrics as an example for future endeavors. Without the knowledge about your project, the company cannot leverage your success in other areas.
Self-promotion is not just about you. It’s about you, your team, and the organization.
Learn more about self-promotion and what it takes to get ahead in Bonnie’s new book The Politics of Promotion.