How to Toot Your Own Horn at Work (Without Being Annoying)

Most of us hate the idea of bragging about our achievements, and we all know someone who’s too eager to shove their success in our faces. But on the other side of the spectrum, being too humble can cost you the job, the promotion, or the pay raise. It’s a tough balancing act, but if you want the recognition you deserve, tooting your horn is a valuable skill to have in your back pocket. Here are a few ways to get a little subtle PR going, without taking it too far.

1. Know what to share.

Just as you should be updating your resume, you should also have a running list of things you accomplish with your team at work. Often we believe we’re “just doing our job” but the results you achieve while you’re going your job are worthy of being shared, so don’t hesitate to share those wins.

2. Become a storyteller.

Everyone loves a story.  Once you have your list of accomplishments, be prepared to tell it. For example, instead of saying “I decreased turnover by 20%,” explain the problem, the obstacles you faced, your choices, your course corrections, and your outcome. And the next time someone asks for an update, tell them your story so far: the situation, the challenges, the plan of attack. Good storytelling makes it much easier to share your results, so take advantage of every opportunity.

3. Give updates.

We aren’t often invited to share our stories, and we don’t always volunteer them—but this is something you should change. Sometimes, we believe we don’t need to share updates because others don’t want to be bothered or your team must know already. But the reality is that your senior management may have no idea what challenges you’re overcoming, and often like to be kept in the loop.

4. Talk about your team.

To share accomplishments without appearing arrogant, talk about the team you’re working with, whether this is a team you head or a team of colleagues. Your audience will make the logical leap to see your contributions, allowing you to sing your own praises without coming across in a negative way. And your team will love to have their own horn tooted!

5. Get others to toot your horn.

Create reasons for others to brag about you without prompting. This isn’t quite as easy as the steps above, but it’s very effective. To make it happen, be active in helping others, whether on your team or not, on a regular basis. Your kindness, support, and advice make others more willing to vouch for you, giving you credit for your contributions in their work.

If your aim is to move up in any organization or team, you’ll have to learn to share your merits—or else you run the risk of allowing your career to stagnate. And while you may feel uneasy about shouting your own praises, these steps are a great way to comfortably (and inoffensively) toot your own horn. 

As we all deal with the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our day to day lives, it's important to step back and take the time to care for ourselves. Here are some of the things that are worth consciously working on in the coming weeks.

SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES, especially children. In today’s busy world often our time with the ones we love gets put on the back burner. As events, activities, and schools cancel….and more and more people work at home, now is a great chance to get caught up with each other.

REDISCOVER THE SIMPLE THINGS. There was a time when we weren’t “on the clock” 24/7, when our children weren’t spending each evening in activities… when life was a routine. With much of that canceled for the near term, now is an opportunity to have family dinners, play games, read that book that you can never get to. Take a step back from the complications of the world. Take a breather.

FIND THE GOOD IN THINGS. We are bombarded all day and night with the negative things that are going on. There is much criticism over governments, mass hysteria, other nations, etc. But there are good stories out there as well. Stories of people helping people. While it's a shame that we have to work hard to find these, it is worth the effort.

Last, and most importantly, KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET. It is so easy to succumb to the negativity that flows from a crisis such as this one. But keeping a positive mindset is one of the best things that you can do during this time. Positive energy will help you maintain your health, be productive, and reduce stress. Moreover, it is contagious. Everyone that you come in contact with (from 6 feet away of course) will be affected by your energy, even if just a little bit. And the more positive energy that is released into the world, the better this situation will be and the quicker it will resolve.


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