How To Share Your Work Accomplishments Without Bragging

Robin Schwartz

How To Share Your Work Accomplishments Without Bragging

It is not unreasonable to want credit for our hard work. Many employees will go above and beyond to meet deadlines or enlist whoever they need to in order to successfully complete a project. When you’ve poured your sweat and tears into your work, having someone question what you contribute or how you add value to an organization would be frustrating.

There’s a fine line between making sure you receive credit where credit is due and being overly vocal about your accomplishments and successes. In a word, bragging. No one likes the man or woman who is constantly patting themselves on the back or, even worse, taking credit for the hard work of others. It’s important to be proud of our work and acknowledge when it’s done well. It’s also important to show a level of modesty when announcing your achievements.

Avoid Too Many “I”s

Starting every sentence with “I led” or “I did this/that” will just sound conceited. Depending on how the conversation came up, your co-workers may wonder why you always need to talk about yourself and how great you are. If you work in a team environment, it will also lead others to believe you don’t consider your colleagues as essential as you are.

Save the “I” sentences for when they’ll have the most impact when announcing accomplishments. Even then, consider starting those sentences with “I am pleased to announce” or “I am very proud to say”. It indicates less about you and more about your willingness to share positive news with your co-workers.

Emphasize The Hard Work

When people are talking with you about your successes and accomplishments, don’t diminish them. Avoid saying things like “that was easy for me”. Be honest and talk about the hardships you faced to make things happen. Your colleagues will respect that you’re proud to have gotten to the finish line and that you endured some obstacles along the way. This, in turn, will make them proud for you. People generally like seeing others succeed when there’s hard work involved.

While it’s important to emphasize the hard work, it’s also important not to over emphasize it. If every task you take on ends up being an epic tale of tragedy and pain, your co-workers will see you as someone who acts like a martyr all the time. Not every accomplishment needs to come with a list of difficulties. Sometimes just acknowledging the praise and giving thanks is enough.

Give Credit When It’s Due

Don’t be the person who takes credit for the hard work of others all the time. Being a credit hog will result in others not wanting to work with you and more than likely having negative things to say about you to others. Your reputation will proceed you and it won’t be for the best.

When working in a team environment, it sometimes become more difficult to separate the accomplishments of one person from the whole. In these situations, it’s important to realize that the success of the whole still reflects positively on each person. If you worked hard, pulled your weight and were willing to jump in and help others on your team, that will be noted by those you worked with. There’s no reason to take credit when others would be willing to give it to you.

Don’t “Humble-brag”

The “humble-brag” is one of the most irritating behaviors in office settings. This is when someone attempts to compliment themselves but first adds a critical remark. It might sound something like “I’m so embarrassed I only hit 15% over my quarterly sales goal”. Let’s consider why this statement wouldn’t be well received. You’re stating that exceeding your quarterly sales goal by 15% is embarrassing to you. What if the person you made that statement to didn’t hit his goal or only barely exceeded it?

Studies have been done on this type of behavior and found that it comes across as insincere. Not only are you bragging about yourself outright, but you’re trying to mask it with a complaint. It generally does not go over well with colleagues.

Track Your Achievements

If you really don’t feel comfortable discussing your successes and accomplishments to your colleagues, at least make sure your supervisor is aware. Track projects, deadlines or quotas and provide these updates to your boss in either regular meetings or at least during an annual review session. You may not want to toot your own horn but having a tracking system that shows your achievements will be hard to ignore.

By tracking your accomplishments and quietly sharing them as updates with your supervisor, it’s possible that others will be willing to mention them for you. Supervisors and managers can often tell when someone just isn’t comfortable talking about themselves and will take the opportunity to do it for them when it’s appropriate.

While you may have to enlist different methods, it’s still very possible to share your accomplishments with your organization without being labeled as someone who brags about themselves all the time or shows off. It’s important that we take ownership of our successes at work and have pride in them.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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