THE INC. LIFE

3 Ways To Take Credit For Your Success Without Sounding Like A Jerk

Here’s how to take credit for your work without the ego.

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BY Cheryl Snapp Conner - 11 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Let's be honest--self-promotion is obnoxious. Our lives are saturated with people who have weak credentials and a lot to say about themselves, and it's annoying!

Yes, braggers and boasters get noticed by thrusting themselves into the spotlight, but the only thing their antics achieve is a growing sense of resentment from people who couldn't care less.

Of course it's tempting to flaunt your achievements as an entrepreneur. But the last thing you want to do is alienate yourself from people who would have gladly supported you if you only had a little more tact.

The way you promote your success determines whether people respect you or turn against you. There's a fine line between pride, arrogance and false boasting, and entrepreneurs are blurring it all the time. So before you take another toot on the horn, here are a few ideas for promoting your success without turning people against you.

1. Tell your story to help others

The media has the potential to accelerate your momentum, broaden your audience, and amplify your voice. But while it's tempting to reach out to publications in an effort to lend credibility to your accomplishments, doing so in an egocentric manner will only turn them against you.

Yes, promoting your success involves telling stories about what you've done and where you're going. But to grab the attention of writers who can share these stories far and wide, your stories should be reader-centric. They should educate people on how you learned, how to follow in your footsteps, and inspire them to take their own next step.

Sure, the story will include information about who you are and what you've accomplished. But use the information as context for a valuable lesson others can apply to journeys of their own.

2. Emphasize the value of your team

The perceived success of your team reflects brilliantly on your ability as a leader. After all, when individuals excel, a team achieves results. And when a team achieves results, the company or the boss usually get the lion's share of the credit (that's just the way recognition works).

While it's tempting to walk away with all the credit, you'll look self-centered. Worse still, your employees will feel undervalued (and that's never a good thing). People have contributed their skills, sacrificed their time, and devoted their energy towards projects you managed. They've worked just as hard as you have, and they know it. The only difference is that they aren't getting recognition and never will unless you emphasize the value of their involvement.

As a leader, thank the individuals who've helped on the journey. Doing so not only makes you look generous, it makes your team feel appreciated, too. And when people feel appreciated they work harder and stay with you for longer.

Science backs this up. A study concluded that 80 percent of employees work harder when they feel that their work is appreciated, and 50 percent of people are less likely to scout for another job.

Here's how to make a habit of being grateful: Routinely emphasize the contributions of notable performers in your team. Mention them in meetings and talk about them to your colleagues. When people hear from others that you consistently praise them and hold them in high regard, they'll recognize that you're sincere and grateful.

3. Promote your journey, not your results

We all deserve credit for the work we do. But no matter how hard you try to stay humble, someone is always going to be jealous of your achievements. This is not because they're horrible people. We've all been guilty of this. They just don't understand the hours of effort, struggle, frustration, and determination that went into achieving your goals.

People are jealous because you haven't given them a way of relating to your success. They don't understand the challenges you've overcome or the sacrifices and mistakes you've made on your journey. And until you help them empathize, they'll keep resenting you.

Do you have a flashy car that people would die for? Tell them about the years you spent driving a rusty old Toyota. How you were unable to sleep at night for three weeks because you didn't know where you were going to find the money to pay your staff. How you had to pull out of the lease agreement of your dream warehouse because you couldn't afford it anymore.

Open up about your challenges and failures. When people empathize with your journey, they're more likely to appreciate and celebrate your results and treat your success as an inspiration, rather than a source of distress.

This article was written in collaboration with my friend Daniel Marlin, a marketing strategist from Cape Town, Western Cape.