5 Tips for Bragging at Work—without Sounding Like You’re Bragging
“If you are going to change the world, it will be from leveraging your strengths.” – Kyle Parton
Do you want to make your strengths more widely known, but worry about being seen as a braggart? You’re not alone—that’s a common fear among employees in most workplaces. Many people feel their coworkers and company leadership don’t know about their core strengths, yet they’re afraid to speak up about them, lest others perceive them as boasting.
Bragging about yourself doesn’t only show others what you can do (when done tactfully). Bragging can also convince you that you’re capable of tackling more challenging tasks and projects. It builds your personal morale, giving you the momentum to keep moving forward by taking on exciting new endeavors at work.
Bragging about yourself can give you the same types of good feelings as great food or money, an article in The New York Times explains. It’s like a great reward for a job well done.
Researchers found that sharing our thoughts with others feels rewarding in itself, the article asserts—and when those thoughts are about our own accomplishments and value, the positive feelings we experience tend to skyrocket.
Sharing these thoughts gives you a burst of motivation, helping you feel more capable and confident—which affirms that you can tackle the next items on your to-do list, Psychology Today explains. That’s a fantastic reason for bragging at work on a regular basis.
Of course, you don’t want to become known for boasting. Rather, you can brag in more subtle ways that will feel and sound completely normal.
Five tips for bragging tactfully
1. Focus on the big accomplishments.
You don’t want to be the person who’s always flooding your social media with boasts about your everyday accomplishments. Instead, share your most important achievements from time to time—whether it’s a specific outcome or a realization that you’ve developed a new skill. That will ensure those big moments will stand out—and even if you do sound like you’re bragging outright about something really huge in a moment of surprise and elation, people will probably understand.
2. Don’t try to cloak your words in false modesty.
In other words, don’t make a statement about your accomplishments and then act as though you’re trying to downplay it behind a weakness or complaint. That’s called “humblebragging,” as an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says, and people can usually see right through it. It feels contrived—because it is! Since it comes across as insincere, it usually backfires, the authors explain.
Thank the people who helped you to achieve your goal or objective, sharing the credit where it’s due. Describe what each person did to carry the project through—including yourself. Speak to each team member’s distinct strengths that allowed you to work together effectively, and share your appreciation for the opportunity to work as a team. You’ll be underscoring your skill in managing the team without directly talking about it—plus, people will look forward to working with you again in the future.
4. Let your enthusiasm about the effort it took shine through.
Instead of just focusing on the outcome, let people see how excited you are to be involved in the work you’re doing. Describe the process, showing how you reached your goal. By telling that story, you’ll be subtly bragging about all the effort and skill you put in to achieve that result. You’ll also be illustrating your strengths more vividly when you tell a story about how you reached a goal, making your words more memorable to others. They’ll have a deeper understanding of the skill and effort the project took when they understand the challenges you overcame in the process.
5. Offer to help someone.
Looking to make your strengths more widely known? Offer a helping hand when someone needs assistance you’re especially equipped to provide. Explain what you can do to help with your coworker’s project or your boss’s efforts. You’ll be subtly bragging by stating your strengths, but no one will perceive it as boasting. If you recently took a seminar that helped you develop a new area of knowledge, start putting it to use as soon as possible by assisting others in these ways.
Like point one says, be careful not to brag all the time. Too much bragging can easily lead to self-sabotage, so Psychology Today recommends strategic bragging. Work to speak about your strengths in specific areas of expertise, which will give others useful information about whom to turn to with questions about those topics. In other words, if bragging serves a dual purpose—sharing useful info while bolstering your self-confidence—you’re less likely to be seen as a braggart.
Need more strategies for self-promotion? Contact him for personalized advice that will help you take the next steps in your career. He has decades of experience in helping people expand their influence and advance into higher-level positions.
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