Pucker Up! 5 Ways to Blow Your Own Horn

This article is part of Jeff’s regular newsletter read by executives. You can subscribe here.

Narcissistic grand-stander
Show off
Attention hog

You get the idea. From an early age the person who continually drew attention to him or herself was either the class clown or an arrogant, self-obsessed jerk. We’ve learned to shy away from promoting ourselves, only to watch in horror as others do it and grab opportunities we were hoping would fall into our laps based on our ‘obvious’ excellence.

Waiting to be discovered and assuming others will realize our greatness not only doesn’t work, it’s negligent when it comes to our success. When I coach leaders we review their accomplishments to reveal many pinnacles to be proud of. But when I ask, “Have you shared your accomplishments with your boss or team?”, the answer is invariably, “No” followed by comments reflecting a distaste for the arrogant. It’s time to recast self-promotion.

Everyone blows their own horn at some point, some time. Even you.

It could be when you are out for drinks with friends, talking about what you’ve been up to. It could be when you tell someone how their struggles reminds you of something you overcame personally. It could be when you are teaching your kids or mentoring peers at work. Everyone tells stories about what they’ve done. You can be more strategic about that if you play the right tunes.

Tune #1: Profile Your Inner Superhero

Activities are boring. Outcomes are exciting! How is what you do essential to someone else?

I often review LinkedIn pages that illustrate dull people. Why would I want to work with them? They don’t stand out from the millions of others describing their history. Use dramatic language to demonstrate how you save the world at work each day, particularly in your headline.

“Jeff Skipper helps leaders wrestle their doubts and uncover their hidden rock star.”

Tune #2: Advertise Your Wins

Do you have new clients or those you’ve been working with a long time? Praise them publicly creating positive attention for both parties. No recent accomplishments? No problem. You can still talk about the old ones:
“Engaging people works. I’m reflecting on my time with Cenovus where we achieved an unheard of readiness level greater than 90% prior to a major change.”

Tune #3: Draw Attention to Others to Draw Attention to Yourself

When I was running a subcontracting business, every time I placed a person in a contract I’d announce it online, highlighting the individual’s strengths. Who is worthy of praise that you work with? By helping them advertise their wins, you illustrate your own leadership qualities.

Tune #4: Let Your Boss Know What Might Help Them

A reporter asked me how to help a new supervisor get oriented to a new role (full article here). I suggested that the wise person offers ‘contributions in context’. Your first obligation is to understand the goals and motivations of your manager (context). With that in mind, you can highlight your skills and what you’ve accomplished which can help them achieve their goals.

Tune #5 Be an OOI

Everyone has a perspective to share. Everyone! By sharing an insight it makes you an Object Of Interest. I work with clients to develop unique points of view they can share with their leaders, their clients, and their teams. It’s amazing how much mileage you can get out of a well-written article that infuses your personal viewpoint.

Changing Your Mind

You are brilliant! You are interesting! If you’re not convinced, ask yourself:

  • What are my accomplishments that no one else knows about?
  • What awards have I won? (I won an all expense paid trip to Chicago for a 3-day rock festival!)
  • When did someone express deep appreciation for my work?
  • When was I really happy? What did I do?
  • When have I gone ‘above and beyond’?

Now, tell the world!

Thoughtfully Yours,
Jeff works with mature businesses and aspiring non-profits to help them establish leadership positions. He also works with executives who want to accelerate their growth. Learn more about Jeff here

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