How to Put Yourself in the Spotlight at Work?

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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

How to Put Yourself in the Spotlight at Work?

🔥NEW In the work environment you want to be perceived as both COMPETENT and LIKABLE. But when you over-promote yourself you will quickly be perceived as a braggart or a a show-off. The extent to which this is the case is a cultural issue. In the USA people generally like a good "sales pitch". But even there there are definitely limits to what people will perceive as OK, good taste and likable. So: How can you create a positive image of your competences, while not being seen as overly promoting yourself?
Prof. Leslie K. John ("Savvy Self-Promotion", HBR May-June 2021, pp. 145-148) conducted research around this question and formulates 5 useful best practices:
1. SHARE WHEN ASKED. If someone requests information that requires you to be positive about yourself, then there is less reason to hold back than is the case normally. In fact, if you - when asked about something - you are too modest, people may perceive you as not trustworthy and not likable.
2. SHARE WHEN OTHERS ARE ALSO SHARING. If other people are sharing pros or cons with you about themselves (for example on LinkedIn), the risk of being perceived as a braggart are lower if you too mention positive things about yourself.
3. FIND A PROMOTER. Ask third parties like your boss, mentor, consultant, colleagues to speak highly about you or to recommend your skills.
4. STRIKE A BALANCE. You are more credible if you don't only mention positive things about yourself, but also some (mild!) negative things.
5. CELEBRATE THE RIGHT WAY. Ask others to cheer your successes (or celebrate your successes on your own).

Besides the 5 mentioned by Prof. John, I could think of one more "best practice":
6. FORMULATE AND CELEBRATE SUCCESSES AS A JOINT EFFORT AND A JOINT SUCCESS rather than your own.
-> Let's further complete this list. I'm also curious about your cultural view on this subject...

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