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Does it pay to brag at work?

unnoticed accomplishments work

Bragging is obnoxious. Yet if we don’t self-promote at work there is a danger that the boss only hears those that shout the loudest and that might mean that your accomplishments are left unnoticed and unrewarded, whilst you are busy being polite.

If you are a natural show off then you’ll have no problem at all detailing all the amazing things that you have done and making sure everyone knows it; you’re probably accustomed to detailing every moment of your life on Brag book too just to make sure that you have covered all bases. Yet the typical British office is full of workplace heroes that find it incredibly difficult to shout about the overtime they regularly put in or the extra mile they continuously go or the feats of endurance they must put up with daily, dealing with troublesome colleagues and demanding customers. The sad truth is that the office is much like the school playground and the main players with the loudest mouths are usually the ones that get noticed and take over the show.

Feeling comfortable with detailing your work accomplishments can be something that you can learn, however. Here are some easy wins:

  1. Befriend the office loud mouth: this is a clever tactic in which your blossoming friendship with the gossiper and broadcaster at work can help voice your accomplishments on your behalf. Confiding in them about all the late nights you have been putting in and the great deal you have just won for the company or the new product that you have just launched will be too much for your motor-mouth confidante to keep to themselves. So, sit back and let them get out the megaphone on your behalf.
  1. Broadcast your accomplishments to the decision-makers: it’s no good if it’s only your partner that knows how hard you have been working, because of the amount of time they get to see you these days; you really need to make sure you notify the management board about key wins. You need to stick to the script and make sure any emails or board room announcements are relevant and well-timed but do make sure that you put that brag mail in to the people that decide how the company runs. Ensure you pick your language accordingly and be clever about it – understate the language and use financial facts or useful statistics that will do all the bragging you need by themselves.
  1. Document just how good you are: If you’re in a job that isn’t customer facing or sales related it can be difficult to demonstrate just how good you are if there aren’t many numbers to fall back upon so keep some notes on how well you did, so you can bring this up at an appropriate time and when your boss asks you how things are going; you can weave into conversation that everything is going well and you have for example really enjoyed helping your colleague learn more about the client and what they like and don’t like so that they can form a better relationship with them. Or when you are telling your boss about the office party you have just organised, slip into the conversation how you weren’t aware how much was involved in organising a party until you had to source different venues, evaluate different catering options and chase up all the replies. In this way, you are detailing just how much work has gone into a seemingly simple task.
  1. Use peer-praise: When you are busy telling your boss about how hard you have worked, don’t forget to mention how hard your colleagues worked too and name, names. Then go back to the office and say that you have just seen the boss and told them how hard x, y and z worked on the latest project. They will be delighted that their name has been flagged up and in turn will be more likely to reciprocate your glowing praise of their work to your boss, about your accomplishments, another time.

No-one likes a child that brags, or a motor-mouth that never gives up but there is a time and place for making sure your colleagues and boss know just how hard you have worked on behalf of the company. If you don’t speak up, it’s unlikely others will.

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