Monkey Puzzle Blog

Blowing your own trumpet

How to get your work recognised when you hate self promotion

A lot of people don’t want to be ‘that person’, the one who is always bragging on about how great they are, how good their work is and the ‘proven track record’ they have. However, in our wish to avoid being seen as arrogant or stepping on peoples’ toes, we can get left behind - along with the profile our great work could have given us.

The good news is that there are ways to get your work noticed, and arguably the right way - by involving and helping others. So here are our tips to get recognised, and we’ll start by looking at the root of the problem. What could be stopping your work from getting noticed?


Why isn’t your work getting noticed?

Sometimes we hear people say ‘but leaders should know, my good work should speak for itself’. That may be fair and true but put yourself in the shoes of a senior leader for a moment. They have many things to juggle and care about, often have to make decisions based on imperfect information and they are also human. So they are more likely to notice that which stands out - good or bad. It’s important if you want to make the most of your talents and career to find productive ways to get yourself and your work noticed.

You may also be missing out on great opportunities for visibility that are staring you right in the face - but perhaps you just haven’t noticed them or can’t see the potential they offer. We’ll cover some of those later.


Getting your work recognised

It’s all about making an association between your work and you in the unconscious of peoples’ minds. When they see you at the coffee machine, see your name on a list of names, they have some positive data that they associate with you. So you don’t have to shout about something for people to know intrinsically that you’ve done great work.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

    Ask for feedback on your work - then many people get to see it. However, be mindful of filling peoples’ time with requests for help. If something is important and you are leading it, then you often find that as people offer you feedback they will also make suggestions as to how to get the work out there, or even promote it for you.
  1. Think about the ways your work is useful to others. Operating from a frame of ‘use and value’ rather than promoting yourself, helps the humble ones amongst us get out there and talk about what we are doing - because we want it to be useful. In return, people can’t help but make that link between the good work and your part in it.
  2. Get involved in things that interest you. One way to get noticed positively is to have a positive impact on projects and things in the organisation that interest you. This is not so much about getting your work recognised but getting yourself associated with being more widely involved and engaged than just focused on your own role or scope.

Here’s why this works. People who involve themselves in projects, initiatives and supporting others place themselves in other peoples’ minds (including leadership) and then don’t have to shout about their work because people already look upon them favourably. Some people can play this as a game, get involved to look good, but this will damage your reputation over the long term as smart people know when this is happening. Instead, be authentic and choose something you really care about and make a positive difference.


Don’t miss out on opportunities

It is staggering how many people don’t see beyond what they need to produce as part of their role. We’ve seen people turn down opportunities to do leadership development alongside the COO because they were ‘too busy’. We’ve been in situations where there is a lot of noise about a problem in the organisation but no-one steps in to offer to help solve it. Have you been asked to speak at an event in your sector but turned it down? It could have been just the platform you needed.

These are massive opportunities to make a difference and get recognised, so look at situations like this as an opportunity for visibility, rather than missing out. After all, if you don’t see the potential, ‘Bragging Brendan’ or ‘Arrogant Anna’ certainly will.


In conclusion

Many of us are naturally reluctant to take centre stage, we leave it to others to grab the opportunity to get noticed. It doesn’t help that no matter how good our work might be, those that we’d like to pay attention are often simply too busy to notice - or just see those who stand out. That’s why we need to work on ways to get ourselves in the minds of others - and there are ways to do this without being ‘that person’ only too pleased to self-promote. We need to be a little more willing to take advantage of the opportunities for visibility that fall at our feet and not let these gifted opportunities pass.


For further information

One of our tips is about asking for feedback. Why not use this quick test to find out how you process feedback and find out how you can be even better. Take our Feedback Focus Test.


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