5 Steps You Need to Self-Promote and Still Be Humble

Season #1

5 Steps to Self-Promote with Grace, Ease and Authenticity.

Good morning from the nature trail in El Rompido, Spain. 

Based on a post I wrote on LinkedIn while I was here, I am musing on self promotion. 

Specifically for this podcast, the myth that if you self promote, you cannot be humble. 

The reality couldn't be further from the truth.

And here's why.

Paradoxical Blend of Personal Humility and Intense Professional Will

One of the books that had a profound impact on my understanding of leadership, was Jim Collins' classic, Good to Great.  

In it, one of his and his team's discoveries about the executives who led companies that made the transition from good performance in the marketplace to great performance in the marketplace and sustained it over time was that they embodied a paradoxical blend of personal humility and intense professional will. 

What does that mean, and how does that apply to you?

Well, it means that he discovered that of  the executives he studied, only 1 of them was featured on the cover of an important business publication in spite of the fact that the companies they were leading were 'making transformative and huge leaps in their business performance.

These executives, whom he called Level 5 Leaders, did not seek the limelight. But they were Intensely focused  on delivering the outcomes that were expected in order to position the organization  to be successful today and thrive tomorrow.  

Now, does this mean that the accomplishments of these executives were unknown inside the organization and among its key stakeholders?

Absolutely not.

If the outcomes they were achieving or exceeding hadn't been visible to the board of directors and the analyst community, these executives would not have stayed in place.

Be Like These CEOs

So what does this mean for you? 

It might mean that you do get featured in some business oriented conference, blog, podcast, or magazine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

And you can respond in ways that are generous, that give credit to team members, that are generous in terms of sharing lessons learned with other women, being generous in sharing credit for accomplishments with those who've helped along the way.

This is all good.

But it is also to say, it is your responsibility and, as I talk about in other podcasts, a measure of your self respect to be sure to let your key stakeholders know about the accomplishments that you've produced. And to do that in a way, as I always say, that puts the focus on how the business is moving forward:

  • Because you are there,
  • Because of your most recent accomplishment,
  • Because of your most recent goal achievement or KPI that you've surpassed or
  • Because of how you've led your team or teams tho those successes.


Self-Promote With Grace, Authenticity and Ease

When you let your key stakeholders know about your and your team(s) contributions to the business,

  • You are self promoting with grace because it is about  moving the business forward so that it can better serve its customers and consumers if It has them 
  • You are self promoting  with authenticity because You aren't hiding behind the, oh, it was nothing  mantra when you know done right well that you put in a lot of  that you've put in substantial effort,  and
  • You're self promoting with ease because you've you're maintaining your focus on the business

What's a Woman to Do? 

  1. Well, first of all, shake off that myth that self promotion and humility are mutually exclusive.
  2. Secondly,  identify your key stakeholders. These are the people who need to know the ways that you are contributing to moving the business forward.
  3. And the third thing is to use your Business Savvy to identify the accomplishments (that you and your team or teams are responsible for) that have the greatest impact on moving the business forward. 
  4. Combine numbers 2 and 3 together to develop a communication plan with which you will advise,  inform or update one or more key stakeholders about an important  accomplishment,  goal achievement,  KPI met or exceeded  or whatever is meaningful in your world and illustrates how you, your team or team(s) are moving the business forward. 
  5. As I've said In other places, once you have sent the email or the DM or popped into your boss's office; then file it away in a special folder where you keep all of your accomplishments. This way you can avoid "Achievement Amnesia" and will have them at your fingertips when you are pitching yourself for a new opportunity or for your performance review. 

Here's me in the beautiful southwest of Spain saying, "Just do it."

Catch you next time,


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Podcast produced and original theme music by Megan Tuck www.megantuckaudio.com