You can be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if you’re the only one who knows it, you won’t go anywhere with your many talents. You need to promote yourself to the decision makers in your organization in the most effective way possible.
If you’re obviously tooting your own horn, people are going to react negatively. You may come off as a blowhard—a reputation that will not serve you well. There are people with a great deal of ability who are too blatant in promoting themselves. It turns people off and has the opposite effect from the intended result.
You must be subtle. You want to be regarded as someone who is communicating effectively.
The following example shows how a situation might be handled so as not to be offensive to others and generate a negative reaction:
Let’s say the local community college is offering courses that you think might help you do your job better, and thereby make you capable of promoting yourself. Here are some ways to make sure your boss and the company are aware of your educational efforts. (Anything that gets the job done without overkill is the goal.)
Send a note to the human resources department, with a copy to your boss, asking that your personnel records show that you’re taking the course. That puts the information in your file, where anyone examining your record and looking at candidates for promotion will see it. Upon completing the course, again notify HR of the successful conclusion. If a certificate of completion is provided, send a copy to HR for your file.
- Engage in casual conversation with your boss (if she hasn’t acknowledged the copy of the note to HR), and mention something along the lines of, “The instructor in my accounting class made an interesting point last night…” The boss may ask, “What accounting class?”
- Place the textbooks on your desk. Eventually you will get the desired question.
- Ask your boss for clarification of a class discussion item that you did not fully understand.
- If you have a classmate meet you at the office for lunch, introduce her to your boss. ‘ ‘Mr. Smith, I’d like you to meet someone I met in my accounting class, Jane Allen.”
You get the idea. The more subtle you are, the less likely your efforts will come off as excessive. Your boss, who knows something about self promotion, recognizes that you are communicating about your accomplishments. If you do it well, she may even admire your style.
Being the most qualified new manager in your organization is great, but you will not be serving yourself well if you don’t promote yourself and nobody knows about it. Very few bosses will approach you and say, “Tell me—what are you doing to prepare yourself for promotion?” So you have to help them.
Some executives espouse the philosophy that if you do a great job, the promotions and raises will take care of themselves. This is a risky strategy, and you can’t afford to take such chances. If your superiors don’t know what you’re doing, how can they take your accomplishments into consideration? Develop a style of communicating the important aspects of your development, but do it with a degree of understatement so that others are not offended or see you as too pushy.
Promote Yourself by Raising Awareness
One of the best ways to make your colleagues aware of your abilities is to develop your presentation skills. When you become comfortable presenting, you can pursue opportunities to illustrate your talents and knowledge. You will set yourself apart from the majority of people, who seek to avoid presenting. Most important, everyone in the audience will become more aware of you, your position, and your capabilities.
If you are like most people, you are not very excited by the thought of public speaking and you will not use it to promote yourself. Your reluctance is likely related to limited or even negative experiences.
Promote yourself in such a way that you won’t attract negative reactions. This is very important. Make use of the above tips when you build your strategy and exercise them in real life.