Careful with Hiding your Success and Being Modest

Impression Management
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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Careful with Hiding your Success and Being Modest

🔥NEW Being modest about your achievements or successes may seem like a nice trait to most people, depending on the culture perhaps.
But Roberts et al. found from 8 experiments, in both public and private settings, and for both family, business and romantic relationships, that modesty can actually backfire on you. Because although those who hide their achievements are perceived as more modest than those who shared it, they are also seen as less competent and less warm. I think one possible explanation for this could perhaps be the mechanisms described in the Johari Window.

Anyway, according to the researchers individuals often hide their successes from others but such hiding has relational costs. Apparently people who receive such communications by a successful person can feel envious (jealous) and happy for the other person's success at the same time. "Sharing one's accomplishments with others is superior to hiding for maintaining one's relationships."
Source: Roberts A.R., Levine E.E. and Sezer O., "Hiding Success", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120(5), 1261–1286.

All of the mentioned studies were conducted in the United States. I think people from the US have a more positive attitude towards "selling your achievements" than Europeans or Asian people do.
⇨ So… How is modesty viewed in your country? For example when applying for a job, when presenting the successful results of some project to the management team, or when presenting your company to stakeholders or investors.


Manager, Italy

Modesty in Italy

Very similar to US culture. Anyway a huge difference is in how people present their achievements. Yo... Sign up

Dr Ranjith Nayar
Manager, Singapore

Modesty in Singapore

Generally in Asian cultures, flaunting your successes is considered beneath you, though times are ch... Sign up

David Mensah
Student (University), United States

Hiding your Success

It is good to live a modest life and hide your success, so that you can have peace of mind. This is ... Sign up

Lenicio Noble
CEO, United States

Hiding your Accomplishments

I agree that living modest life gives you peace of mind, but when you hide your accomplishments in o... Sign up

Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Revealing Success is OK as Long as it is Truthful

There is nothing wrong in revealing ones accomplishments which are truthful I suppose if the context... Sign up

Rebecca Gordon
Coach, United Kingdom

Gender Differences in Modesty?

Interesting discussion. What are some thoughts on whether there is a difference in modesty between g... Sign up

Analyst, Austria

Difference Between Sharing and Selling Achievements

There is a difference between sharing your achievements and selling your achievements. The former is... Sign up

Teacher, Kenya

Questioning the 'Success'

In addition to questioning why and how we tell about our so-called 'successes' or achievements, it i... Sign up

Steven Gertel
Professor, United States

Real Success

Those who pretend "I did this on my own" are both arrogant and self centered and NOT perceived as su... Sign up

Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom

Modestly Successful

As in many things, there isn't one right answer. Not only do different national cultures have diffe... Sign up

Amir Momendoust
CxO / Board, Iran

Modesty Definition is Different in Various Corporate Cultures

This is an interesting topic! Besides the overall social cultures and values, corporate cultures are... Sign up


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