Do you promote the team ahead of yourself? It might be tempting. And it might be a career misstep.

It is easy to fall into the trap that I should always promoting someone else, at some point though, you may think…what about me? Why doesn’t everyone else play by the same rules and watch my back too? The reason is they are probably doing a better job of promoting themselves than you are.

The Center for Creative Leadership, provides an audio transcript, Politics of Self Promotion: Using Visibility to Benefit you, Your Team and Your Organization which outlines five limiting beliefs to promoting your own successes, taken from the book, Selling Yourself without Selling Out: A Leader’s Guide to Ethical Self-Promotion (J-B CCL (Center for Creative Leadership)). How often does someone remind you or your self talk tells you the following are truths:

  • Accomplishments should speak for themselvesSelling Yourself without Selling Out
  • My boss is too busy to hear me talk about myself
  • Team players don’t take credit
  • Not wanting to brag
  • Discomfort promoting yourself

Let’s face it. Bosses are busy. They tend to focus on what is wrong and often forget or overlook the positives. I believe bosses want to reinforce and recognize good work and they need the help of their employees to do it. Too often I hear employees couch accomplishments in terms of what the team did…and I have to wonder, what was your contribution or role in this effort? At a minimum, you should be able to answer this question. In the ideal situation, I should never have to ask the question.

I am not advocating that you dump your team and only center discussions on yourself. Just remember to include yourself and quit playing the martyr role. Martyrs have the “poor me” attitude and love to blame others for their misfortune. In the case of your career, the majority of the successes or missteps sit right with you.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to handle your own internal promotional campaign. In a previous blog, Mastering the Art of Self Promotion, the case is made for why and how to undertake a new outlook on managing your career. It touches on all five of the limiting beliefs offered by the authors, Gina Hernez-Broome, Cindy McClaughlin and Stephanie Trovas.

Careers are made on your individual contributions, not team contributions. I can’t think of one instance in my career where the team receives a promotion as a unit. Do you have to be a team player? Yes. Should it define you. No.