How To Promote Yourself At Work Without Upsetting Your Colleagues

How do you feel when you see somebody bragging, in order to promote themselves at work? For many of us, words like “big head, ego monster, bragger and blowhard” come to mind. However, here’s the reality, so take a deep breath: Promoting yourself is a necessary part of your career path, and should be embraced not rejected.

Fun zone for employees at the Cafeteria

If you don’t speak out, you may never get noticed

On closer inspection, it should look obvious; the average work or office area is often a high activity intense environment. The average boss is often too busy to see what you are doing, instead caught up in their own KPI battles. So you may need to brag a little, otherwise those around you or those in higher positions, just don’t notice. However, the secret here and what this article is all about, is being able to do it in a way that doesn’t make you look arrogant in front of your work colleagues.

The following is by no means an exhaustive list, but provided you incorporate most of these into your working life, then while your climb upwards may have some stumbles, the goals you set and strive for become very achievable.

After all, let’s face it, on average, you spend 30% of your life working. So you might as well make the best of it.

9 ways to brag without bragging

  • Be honest with yourself. And I mean brutally honest. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. What have been my achievements and what am I really good at? What separates me from the others I work with? Find ways to promote those little advantages to those who matter. Regarding your faults, work hard to find ways to improve them. For example, if you often need to work back late, then consider your time management skills. What causes me to run behind time? Am I late back from breaks or spend too much time dithering?


  • Become a resource of knowledge. This step follows the above; if you have put in the hard yards to improve, then don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with others. Become a resource that others can come to and not only those in your work area but other departments. Often those from outside have fresh and innovative ideas.


  • Say thank you. Don’t forget to be gracious to those who have also helped you. If you have been part of a successful project, then focus on how great the project was and the combined effort involved. Do not single yourself out, even if you were a major contributor and don’t belittle or undermine others. Remember the saying “there is no I in team”.


  • Make yourself indispensable. But don’t fall into the trap of “managing up”. Becoming indispensable needs to be seen from afar; it is a reputation deserved and earned but not discussed. To be considered a valued employee of your company, is to be the one they cannot afford to lose. Yes, it gets back to what you can potentially offer but also on what you have previously achieved.


  • Be more by doing more. For your employer, it is a win-win situation. You develop your skills, which will benefit your company in the long term. This can create a positive company environment where emphasis is placed on employee well being, creating a fun enjoyable environment. Recreation rooms, gyms and yoga areas are not uncommon here. This promotes better communication between employees and a more harmonious workplace.


  • Be reliable when offering assistance. Talk is cheap when networking is your goal. Strive to become the “go to” person; however also be honest if things go south. Consistent honesty is such an important trait to have and is overwhelmingly respected by others.


  • Promote a culture of celebration. Encourage your boss to celebrate any small victories your company has achieved. This promotes positive moral which is a key factor in maintaining productivity or taking it to the next level. Simple get togethers like dinners and movie events are great choices.



  • Use social media to promote your achievements. This, if done correctly, has terrific influence. Look at social media, especially platforms designed to let you ‘humble brag’ about your work life, such as LinkedIn. Build a strong inventory of your skills and achievements, and don’t forget to include those that fall outside of the workplace. Also, try and make yourself popular by promoting your skills and that will really help to impress your boss.


  • Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t fall into the fear of failure mentality; we all know this is hard to do but we all really need to embrace it. Susan Jeffers, the author of “Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway” states “the only way of getting rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it”. Therefore always be positive as negative thoughts can be so destructive and pointless. Personally I love the old saying “it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all”. Better still, on my own website I have this quote from Thomas Edison “I haven’t failed I have just found 10000 ways that won’t work”.


Continue to stand out – effective self promotion is not a one-hit fix

Refuse to be a tree in the forest; promote the skills you have learnt, whether on social media or within. To be recognised as a valuable resource is more than just getting “brownie points”.  Self -promotion isn’t a flaw: in today’s society, it has become a necessary evil.

Never be satisfied that you have done all you can. Once a month, pull out that list you compiled earlier and re-evaluate those strengths and weaknesses. Remember that your success is like a rocky road, that it has more than one path that can get you to where you want to go.