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How to Toot your own Horn at Work without Sounding Arrogant

Updated: May 25, 2023

According to author Blaine Loomer, boastful and bragging colleagues are one of the common types of ‘toxic coworkers’ to look out for. I am sure you can identify those people in your organization who continually pat themselves on their backs about what they have done. The braggart, the one with the personality trait that gets under your skin, because their sole focus seems to be about getting the spotlight. You know, the colleague, who in other words, is seemingly “full of themselves”.

Any yet, as a career coach, I recognize a consistent theme amongst my clients. My clients wrestle with self-confidence and it plays out and shows up at work. They doubt themselves, second guess their decisions, and feel incompetent or ineffective in their role. So maybe there is something to be said about acknowledging and vocalizing your achievements?

According to a study published by two Harvard neuroscientists in 2012, people tend to spend about 40 % of their time talking about themselves. The study found through using brain scan technology that when people talk about themselves it triggers the same chemical reactions they experience during sex. Those good feelings then motivate them to share more personal information and more regularly.

These study results reinforce that it just feels good to talk about ourselves. Yet, in the workplace, you want to do so with tact and pride. You want to share your great work and avoiding gloating. The question is how do you exude confidence without being overly boastful? Here are 3 tips on how to talk about yourself in the workplace so you can get those good chemical feelings without sounding obnoxious.

Tip #1: Get your accomplishments and the accomplishments of your team out there.

If your team scored a big hit let people in your organization know. Send out an email and share the good news. Utilize the communication systems in your organization to spread the word. Does your company have an internal newsletter that goes out to employees? Do they use social media to sing the praises of employees or team accomplishments? Are their regular awards given out to employees or teams where you can share the glory of your team’s good work? If so, identify the point person to submit those write ups to and send them their way.

Tip #2: Keep a file of your completed work.

Identify and utilize various systems where you can track all your completed projects, activities, and those of your team. Whenever you have finished a project jot it down on your “completions list”, post it on your social media sites such as LinkedIn. Remember, data is your friend.

According to an article on tracking accomplishments, Tim Tyrell-Smith notes “tracking ‘wins’ is also great for your confidence on the job. The habit of tracking them leads you to look for new ways to create them”.

Tip #3 Send out a monthly email to your boss capturing all your completions.

Keep your boss apprised of your completions and update them monthly. You don’t want to assume that your boss is aware of all the progress or obstacles you or your team has overcome. Notify your boss of your teams’ successes on a regular basis so they can “report up” to their managers as well.

This will also allow those achievements to stay fresh in their minds and not get lost. You will then be better prepared for your annual performance evaluation. You will have a series of monthly “completions” that you can then pull together to share in your evaluation.

Advising your boss of you and your teams finished efforts in the workplace with tact and pride will help your confidence, professional standing and will set an example. By doing so, you will role model and help to reinforce a work culture where recognition of others is a norm. I once read that ‘a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”. So, feel free to “Toot” on!

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