There are two major reasons why one should promote his/herself in the workplace:
1. Performance Reviews (…$)
Let’s dive into #1:
Although annual performance reviews as we know them are quickly becoming extinct, we’ll all likely still be reviewed, just more frequently.
Since we are in a system of annual reviews for the time being, let’s focus on how this kind of performance review can work to your detriment and how to circumvent that.
Why do annual reviews work against you? No one remembers what you did for a full year, likely not even you.
As a result, it’s key to be transparent about your accomplishments overtime, which can be done in many ways.
- Send a monthly email to your managers/stakeholders which informs them of updates on your achievements and posts them on the status of your current projects.
- Keep track for yourself and your manager, via a monthly 1 pager. I like to have a 1 pager at all times which tracks what is on my plate, be it team functions, extra projects, or cultural/people development endeavors. You can go even further to tick and tie your projects to your strengths and areas for development to try to weave in your day to day with your goals (soft and hard skills alike).
- Update your team in team meetings about your projects on a frequent basis, even if the projects do not relate to them. This is important so that people recognize (throughout the year, not just right before your review) that you are involved in broad initiatives outside the team and want to bring it to their attention to benefit them. Of course you should also periodically post them on projects that do relate to the team, that way they see you are constantly striving to incorporate others’ opinions and to improve processes.
- Send out broad project posting emails (after having someone look it over) for projects that have broad implications — you may just find that these will be forwarded by your managers to folks who are even more senior to you.
- Continuously think of new and better ways that your team can improve upon their work; flesh out your ideas and post the team (email or team meetings).
The hard documents you can create have an added bonus as they also serve as a great way to look back over time to see what progress you have made. On top of this, you can send these recaps to your reviewers once that annual review comes time so they have concrete examples of your abilities and growth.
This piece relates more to promoting yourself outside of your direct team via:
- Other projects that connect more broadly in your division/firm — can be self started or existing
- Other programs that connect more broadly in your division/firm (cultural networks, clubs, etc.) — can be self started or existing groups
- Utilizing internal social networking tools
These pieces are important so that people outside your team know who you are, you learn about the various parts of the division and firm, and so you may be tapped for broader projects. This is, in essence, a requirement for career advancement.
Branching beyond your team will also benefit your work within your own team. You will be able to understand implications on your projects for those other teams and thus your managers will recognize that your understanding of the broader firm and overall leadership abilities are growing.
There are endless ways in which promoting yourself can and will benefit you.
For those of you who are on the shy side and do not like to promote yourself because you feel like you are bragging, let me tell you this:
Doing fabulous, creative work in a silo will get you nowhere. In order for you to climb the ladder, get noticed, get better and better opportunities and roles, people will have to know your name, your caliber, your achievements, your skillset and thus, your potential. The only way to do this is to let them know about your work.
Funny enough, sometimes individual A who does less or performs worse off than individual B, but promotes him/herself more, can be perceived as a higher performer. Promotion → Perception.
If you want to open yourself up to boundless possibilities, I implore you to get out of your own bubble.