The fact is, love it or loathe it, Self-Promotion is an essential and integral career development tool for aspiring women leaders

Being more visible and able to confidently articulate your achievements builds the credibility of your Personal Brand. It also helps in interviews, performance reviews and salary negotiations.

For many women, this goes against the grain, believing as we do that engaging in self-promotion is self-aggrandising, obnoxious, and arrogant

Research consistently finds that women are typically less likely to self-promote for fear of being labelled as self-absorbed or aggressive. Whereas men are viewed as confident and competent

Combine that with the ‘good girl’ conditioning that tells us to never do anything that could come across as ‘full of ourselves’ and we perpetuate the toxic stereotype of how women should present themselves

To avoid being labelled as such, women tend to revert to the passive, preferring to dumb down their achievements, which comes at a cost. A Harvard Business School study in early 2020 found that men rate their performance 33% higher than equally performing women. The same HBR article sited this tendency towards self-deprecation as one of the main reason male colleagues who rated their performance more highly on the 0 to 100 scale were more likely to be hired into Senior roles and offered higher pay

To succeed in today’s competitive work place you simply cannot sit back and hope others will draw attention to your efforts. If you’re doing a great job, it’s better to be understood and appreciated than underrated and overlooked.

Here are 4 strategies you can deploy as an aspiring female leader to make sure your achievements are known, whilst still keep your integrity in tact

Facts don’t lie

It’s not arrogant or bragging if it’s a fact.

Talking about a job well done, supported by the evidence makes the narrative more positive and easier to deliver  

Serve don’t Sell

Positioning your significant achievement in the context of helping others also removes potential ‘crassness’. It becomes less self-serving, less about you and more about helping others. If you come over as ‘relentlessly helpful’ you won’t need to self-promote, your actions will speak for you.

Find an advocate who can speak for you

There’s a big difference between a mentor and a Sponsor. Women benefit greatly from both, but Sponsors and vocal advocates can really help open the door to new opportunities. So if for whatever reason your boss isn’t sharing your brilliance on your behalf then find someone will.

Don’t giveaway all the credit

Great results are rarely achieved alone. A primary reason people dislike bragging is because it can come across as trying to take all the credit when it was a team effort.

I get it. As women we are no encouraged to claim credit for the amazing work we do. Instead, we are taught to put others first.  

However whilst it’s good to share how you worked with your co-workers to accomplish the success don’t make it entirely about them. Women are particularly prone to speaking as ‘We’ as opposed to ‘I’.  For sure there might be no I in TEAM but Teams have leaders and those leaders are accountable for success and failure. Remember….you did the work!

In summary. While self-promotion can be uncomfortable and cringeworthy, it’s best to share your success in a way that is authentically you. If you are not naturally arrogant and don’t already have a reputation for arrogance it’s unlikely you’ll be labelled as such.

Allowing humility to overcome opportunity is a key factor in women losing out on promotions so time to bang your own drum, toot your horn and own your achievements


Discover how to


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