Self-Promotion without the brag

Jun 13, 2024

If we want to effectively communicate our achievements and the great outcomes we and our teams are getting, we need to be able to engage in self-promotion.  

Authentic self-promotion is strategically sharing your successes in a way that feels genuine and adds value to others.  Some of us might confuse self-promotion with arrogance, and none of us want to be that person. When balanced with humility, self-promotion can be a powerful skill. We can still engage in self-promotion whilst acknowledging the contributions of others and the collaborative nature of success.

But not all of us are comfortable talking about ourselves.  The more leaders I work with the more I realise many of us would prefer to let our work do the talking.  What happens when that’s not enough?

So, if that’s you, it’s time to change your approach and start putting your best foot, or self-promotion, forward.  Here’s why and how to get started.

The gains from self-promotion are clear.  If you are waiting for someone to notice how great you are in your role and give you the tap on the shoulder for a promotion, chances are you need to engage in self-promotion.  Whilst most of us rather wouldn’t self-promote it is essential for career advancement, networking, and establishing yourself as the go to person in your field. It helps us to gain visibility and build influence, which are crucial for driving change, getting buy in from your team and making you the obvious choice for that plum role you want.

Getting started is being willing and able to find a strategy that feels authentic to you.  Start by weaving these tools into your conversations.  Stat with small wins you are having.

  • Talk more about impact and purpose.  Share your achievements by focusing on the impact they have had on your team and others. Refer to the specific behaviours that supported your success, whether it be through growth, collaboration, or efficiency. This shifts the spotlight from you to the broader benefits of your actions.

Instead of saying, "we increased our production," try, "Our focus on collaboration and teamwork meant we were able to increase production."

  • Tell a story.  People connect with and remember stories much better than they do with mere data. Frame your wins within a narrative that includes challenges, how you overcame them, and the lessons learned. 
  • Share the spotlight. When speaking to your achievements, acknowledge the contributions of your team. This not only reinforces your role as a leader but also builds trust and loyalty.
  • Focus on the journey ahead and continuous learning.  Share not only what you have achieved but where you want to go next to keep learning and improving. Sharing your ideas for growth is also an opportunity to speak to your vision.
  • Link your success stories to your personal values or the values of your organisation. This reinforces the meaning behind your self-promotion and helps others understand the "why" behind your actions.
  • Shift your thinking of self-promotion from avoid to strategic communication that is purposeful and audience centric.  Prepare by spending time reflecting on what’s working well.  When there is a perfect opportunity for self-promotion in front of senior leaders, you don’t want to find yourself scrambling for a positive story to share.  
  • Start small with people that know you and talk about how you are trying to bring more self and team promotion to your conversations.  Encourage your team members to start doing the same.  Practice in a safe space until it feels natural, then start branching out.
  • Choose the right moments and platforms to share personal achievements in ways that add value—whether it’s teaching a lesson, giving positive feedback on behaviours you value, or coaching others to solve complex problems.
  • Engage your audience by asking questions or inviting feedback. This moves from one way self-promotion to two-way conversation. 

Role modelling your ability to share your successes, challenges, and the lessons you've learned, opens the door for others to understand the pathways to success and the realities of overcoming obstacles. This can be particularly empowering for emerging leaders within your team and organisation.

Self-promotion is a tool in your leadership toolkit.   It is not a sign of overconfidence but a necessary skill for effective leadership. By reframing self-promotion as a tool for visibility and strategic communication, you can leverage its value and integrate it into your leadership practices in an authentic and effective way.

Don’t wait for the tap on the shoulder, get comfortable putting your best wins forward.

Get Evolved Leader delivered to your inbox every week to receive effective tools and practical ideas you can implement to develop your own leadership skills and style as well as those in your team.

Give it to me!

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.