How to Brag without being a Braggart

If the right people don’t know about your work your work doesn’t matter. It may be important. It may be valuable. But, you’ll never get ahead if those over you don’t know your value and accomplishments.

Keeping your head down and working hard
keeps you down and lets others take credit.


Self-promotion isn’t a dirty word. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” Muhammad Ali. (From Getting Ahead) Self-promotion done well is so powerful that even those who haven’t performed get ahead, for a while. I’m not promoting empty self-promotion – just saying it works!

The tip that keeps on giving:

Joel Garfinkle offers bucket loads of useful ideas on self-promotion in Getting Ahead. My favorite is keeping track of your accomplishments. You may be the type that does more – takes on more responsibility – but forgets all you’ve done. Record your achievements every week. “The tracking process itself will give you confidence,” Garfinkle.


  1. Business results.
  2. The value you’ve provided.
  3. Fact-based, concrete details.
  4. Specific feedback you’ve received.
  5. Quantifiable data – measure your impact.

Joel Garfinkle offers a three-step promotion plan. Here is a sampling:

#1. Self-Promote:

  1. Share wins with management.
  2. Communicate success stories.
  3. Credit others.

#2. Promote others: When your team does well, you do well.

  1. Praise them to their boss.
  2. Enhance their visibility.
  3. Position them for leadership.
  4. Inform others of team success.

#3. Others promote you: They must appreciate what you’ve done.

  1. Peers acknowledge your value – which is more likely if you’ve promoted them.
  2. Boss shares your success.
  3. Clients/vendors offer testimonials.


Joel says, “If you’re uncomfortable sharing your accomplishments, practice with someone.” You enhance your impact when others know your talents and achievements.


I’m uncomfortable with this topic but realize that we can’t increase our impact if others don’t know what we can do.

What tips can you offer for successful self-promotion?

What are the dangers? How do you overcome them?


Added resources:

Five Ways to Master Office Politics – “Office politics is not a dirty word. You’ll go further if you can play.”

How to Toot Your Own Horn – “Don’t think it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, it does.”


Highly recommended read: