Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 


November 19, 2018

Women are known as strong team players and collaborators. That’s great, because those skills are in high demand in today’s more matrix-style organizations. But giving credit away or not accepting credit when it’s due downplays your achievements and contributions in ways that can hurt career progress.
Women are less likely to self-promote than men, more likely to give credit away to others and tend to add in negative elements to their achievements when they do talk about them, according to research by Corinne Moss-Racusin, assistant professor at Skidmore College who researches diversity and gender roles.
Self-promotion goes against gender stereotypes and is seen negatively by both men and women, according to research by Moss-Racusin. She reports that women who self-promote in the workplace are seen as less warm, earned less money and are passed over for advancement. They suffer from bragging backlash.
Talk about a conundrum. We are encouraged to raise our hands and step up but then penalized for sharing our successes. It’s not fair, but there are ways women can promote their accomplishments while avoiding the harsh realities of bragging backlash.

  •  Make a list of your most important accomplishments and then think about how your work helps advance important organization goals. Sharing the ‘why’ behind your work and linking it to larger goals can make it easier to talk about your success and enables listeners to engage through a broader perspective. If your accomplishment is built on the work of others, point out how helpful those ideas were. Then you can bridge to your specific contribution without losing supporters. 

  • Have others brag on your behalf. Having a sponsor within your organization is critical. Keep him or her informed of your recent accomplishments and armed with the data to highlight your strengths.

  •  Ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. Colleagues, former employers and even friends can share specific feedback online that provides valuable information to others. 

  • Share Moss-Racusin’s research with your organization. Bringing areas of unconscious bias to light offers an opportunity for more intentional choices and enables organizations to search for new ways to highlight the achievements of female team members.

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