Toot Your Horn without Blowing It

Geting the Recognition You Deserve

Getting credit for good work is essential for career advancement. Promotions and accolades don’t always go to the most qualified candidate; they often go to the person who has done the best job of shining a spotlight on their work. Remember, you are your biggest champion and your own best advocate.

Promote yourself effectively using a combination of grace and directness that keeps your successes front-and-center without appearing self-aggrandizing or overbearing. It’s a fine line, but with practice, you can walk it.

Shine a Light

Successful self-promotion requires communicating with confidence. Want to have your ideas and contributions recognized? Speak loudly, directly and confidently. Be assertive when putting forth an idea; avoid prefacing your ideas with disclaimers that undercut your presentation.

If your idea gets picked up, own it. Remind others, either subtlety or directly, of the role you played in the genesis of the idea or in shepherding the project to completion. Preface your contributions in meetings or memos with reminders of your efforts; adopt the habit of owning your contributions.

The Boss’ Ear

Make a point to let your boss know about your achievements and worthy ideas. Bosses are busy and they aren’t mind readers; it’s up to you to keep them up-to-date on your track record.

Try to schedule regular time to solicit feedback and make this session a two-way street. Use the time to keep your boss up to speed on all you do. Be sure to elicit feedback that supports your ideas and map your contributions to team goals, businesses objectives and company strategy. Your boss will appreciate both your openness to feedback and the fact you are working towards achieving company goals. If face-time is hard to secure, shoot off an e-mail when you have something newsworthy to share.

Build a Support Team

Develop a team of colleagues that support your ideas and recognize your work. They can help market your ideas—and therefore you!— internally. Make colleagues and peers across different teams stakeholders in your success; when relevant, let colleagues see how they can contribute, if they feel part of the conversation and planning early on, they are more likely to support the project and you.

Be a Team Player

Understand that sometimes your great idea or hard work is not going to publically get the credit it deserves. When your job is to support your boss, or be a part of a team, sometimes others will take or share credit in work that you might rightfully view as your own. Remind your boss or co-workers that you are happy to be a team player; their behind-the-scenes appreciation of your role can be as invaluable as public accolades.

Set an Example

Create a culture where credit is appropriately given. Be sure to commend others for their work and contributions. Recognizing the efforts of others is not only the right thing to do; it’s a way of silently tooting your horn: you will be viewed positively and with appreciation by your peers for recognizing their efforts.

Remember, give credit where credit is due and be sure to take it as well by steadily and effectively shining a light on your hard work.