Most of us understand that doing good work is not enough to advance in our careers. Bosses and colleagues need to recognize and like you for what you accomplish for it to matter. You may hope they will notice on their own, but it happens only occasionally. Which means you need to learn how to self-promote. Given our culture and upbringing, it comes naturally to few professionals. This challenge is bigger in hybrid, remote, and asynchronous operating models, which most organizations have adopted.

While many of my clients want to get better at this skill, here is what I hear from them initially –

  • I am doing my job. I don’t want to tom-tom about it!
  • I know I need to do it, but I hate bragging!

They feel phony while talking about their accomplishments and skills. They think talking about themselves is like being the proverbial ‘used car salesman.’ They don’t like others who self-promote and struggle with the thought of having to do it.

It is not surprising, given that from childhood we are told – “Focus on your work, and everything else will follow; your work should speak for itself,” and so on. From our early years, we learn that self-promotion is an unattractive quality in a person. So we put our heads down, do our best work, and hope our efforts are recognized. But our managers and colleagues are too busy to notice. Our unwillingness to shine a light on our work results in our frustration and disengagement.

Have you ever noticed how you feel when your subordinates talk about their work? You probably believe they are highly engaged and take pride in their work. It is a compelling argument for learning to self-promote with ease rather than waiting for your hard work to be recognized.

Here are some ideas to highlight your achievements while maintaining your integrity –

Reframe what self-promotion is to you – It is a combination of effective communication, managing up, networking, information-sharing, and relationship-building — all of which are valuable and necessary skills for a leader.

Shift the focus – If you are uncomfortable focusing the spotlight on yourself, consider who might benefit from your knowledge. View discussing your strengths as a way to help others who might be working on similar projects. Help others succeed by offering your support.

Share the stage – While telling your story, acknowledge those who collaborated with you, supported and guided you, and whose good work helped you do a good job. 

Be authentic – Self-promotion is not about being someone you are not, stating false or exaggerated information. Your efforts will be better received if you’re genuine.  

Be proactive – Take on challenging assignments and high-visibility projects. Seek opportunities to interact with top management in scenarios that allow you to showcase your strengths.

To summarize, doing a job well does not guarantee that others will notice and value it. Self-promoting may be challenging for you initially, but with practice, you will develop a style that is authentic to you and good for your career.


To attend #IAmRemarkable workshop, a global movement by Google to empower everyone, including underrepresented groups, to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond while challenging the social perceptions around self-promotion, register here –  – ( Date: July 1, 10.30 am GMT/ 6.30 am ET)