How to Share Accomplishments At Work Without Bragging

Have you ever stopped yourself from telling a story because you worried it might sound like showing off? When a project is finished successfully, it’s natural to share it with your team and celebrate your wins (plus it speaks well when looking to promote to a higher position). While sharing too many successes at once can seem like you're bragging, not sharing enough may prevent people from knowing about your amazing abilities. Striking a balance between oversharing and undersharing is the key, so here's how you can share your wins without alienating your audience:

When Does It Become More Than Sharing?

First, let’s talk about the differences between sharing and bragging. Sharing is recounting your success with the intent to uplift and celebrate those involved. Bragging is talking about an achievement specifically to bring yourself clout or praise. But what does that look like in the workplace? Here are a few examples:
  • Me vs. we: Not celebrating other members of your team, diminishing their work, or only focusing on what you’ve specifically accomplished.
  • Overstating your role in the project.
  • Focusing on and looking for praise.

The Art of Discussing Accomplishments

Knowing what to say is half the battle, so decide exactly what you want to share. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Stick to facts, not extrapolations. Use actual numbers, workflows, and strategies that acted as a direct influence on your success. Everything can be verified, so make sure you’re being honest about how much and what work you completed.
  • Emphasize your hard work: Social norms often tell us to downplay our struggles, but in this case it’s beneficial to talk about them! You deserve recognition for your hard work, so touch on the difficulties you faced and how you overcame them.
  • Don’t deflect praise: You may have been taught that relishing someone’s praise of you is vain, but you did the hard work! Simply show appreciation for their kind words and move on. They are taking the time to honor you, so return the favor by thanking them.
  • Give credit to anyone who helped you. If you had a team of people helping you toward your goal, be sure to thank them. Each person who plays a role in your success deserves to be celebrated alongside you.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, especially negatively. This approach overshadows the good work you did and undercuts other people. Instead, compare what you did to your previous work products. Show your growth through the difference between then and now.
  • Change your language. A phrase like “I don’t mean to brag…," makes everything you say sound like exactly that—bragging. Instead, say something like, "I'm excited to announce that we've delivered our product six weeks ahead of schedule, and I’m really proud of the team!"
Evolving your communication style will take practice! It may help to write things out ahead of time with the basic facts of what you’ve achieved. You can even ask a coworker or friend to proofread it for tone and clarity.

Strategies for Optimal Impact

When thinking about how and when to share your accomplishments, a little strategy can go a long way. First, understand why you want to share it.
  • What are you hoping to achieve with the news?
  • Are you wanting the kudos for performance reviews?
  • Are you working toward a promotion? Are you planning some examples of achievements in preparation for a job interview? If so, keep in mind what would best suit your cause when talking about what you’ve accomplished!

  • Next, decide when to talk about it. Your team may have a "what's good" segment where you can share successes or an ongoing IM thread where you can discuss projects you’ve completed. If you have none of those, you can just use your manager or team’s preferred method of communication to let them know.

    Remember, learning the art of talking about your accomplishments is a process – the more you practice the more confidence you’ll develop. You may even find some opportunities to include some humor once in a while! Stories leave a lasting impression on listeners, so if there’s an opportunity to share your achievement in the form of a story, do it! People love a well-told story, and if you strive to be authentic in telling your accomplishment in this way, people will remember the impact your contributions made.

    Need help self-advocating in the workplace? Here are our top tips to get you started.