Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Humble pie doesn't taste as good as it looks

 [flickr: enggul]

If you're doing your job well, chances are someone is seeing it. They may have even commended you on it, or called you out for recognition.

Think about the last time this happened: how did you react?

Did you look down bashfully and mutter a quick thanks? Or did you try to push the attention over to a coworker ("But did you see Sally's presentation? Now THAT is awesome")? I've done both.

A lot of people downplay their accomplishments at work because they are afraid of looking prideful or arrogant, but that humble bashfulness could come back to bite you later on. You've deflected the momentary attention, yes, along with the credit and recognition.

Consider this: You turn in an awesome project that showcases your creativity, innovative thinking, and problem-solving skills. Folks rave because it's unlike anything they've seen before. You demur, downplaying your role and your work. If that's what you keep telling them, eventually they're going to believe you. And all of a sudden, your work isn't as impressive as it seemed a moment ago.

Next time a compliment is tossed your way and you're tempted to say "It's no biggie," try one of these non-braggy and not-too-humble responses:
  • "Aw, shucks."
  •  "It was my pleasure." (I like this one because it not only acknowledges your role but shows that you're up for more challenges)
  • "[Coworker who did as much work as you did] and I are really happy about how this turned out, too."
  • And my favorite: "Thank you."
Do you tend to downplay your own work or are you happy to take credit when it's due? What tips do you have for accepting a compliment graciously?

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