Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From the Article Archive: How to Hone the Skill of Promoting Accomplishments

Question: Men appear to be better at promoting their accomplishments in the corporate world. How do women effectively hone this skill?
Michelle Johnston Holthaus, General Manager of Channel Platforms and Strategy with Intel in Portland, Oregon, has spent countless hours mentoring women employees at Intel and supporting their career development.

One of her favorite topics to address (both in mentoring conversations and as a keynote speaker) is how to advance your career while remaining true to yourself. “I will grow in my career, but not at the expense of who I am. Johnston Holthaus told participants when she appeared as guest speaker in our Emerging Leader Webinar Series in February 2011.

During the webinar, one participant offered her observation that men seem to be better at promoting their accomplishments, and asked, “How do women effectively hone this skill?”

Johnston Holthaus responded, “There are varying ways to go about this,” pointing out that the approach should vary depending on a person’s work environment and their personal comfort level. She went on to list four approaches to consider:

1)     Start with baby steps.
Relate accomplishments to the context of a project and/or business goal.

2)     Write regular status reports on your accomplishments.
This could be a first step in telling your manager what you are doing well. Consider creating a weekly top two list, which can be personal or team oriented.

3)     Be vocal about your team’s accomplishments.
You are then talking about a group versus yourself. This is a good way to hone your delivery, style, and approach.

4)     Practice with your mentor.
Do some role modeling of scenarios and if possible have them observe your delivery. I would recommend against asking peers or people in the meeting for feedback (unless they are your mentor) because this will be perceived as a lack of confidence and questioning yourself.

Above all, Johnston Holthaus’ top tip for a successful career is “Be yourself. If you don’t bring ‘you’ to the workplace, there is less likelihood that you’re going to be passionate, successful, driven, and motivated.”

Michelle Johnston Holthaus  was a guest speaker in the webinar, Advancing Authentically, part of the Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series.
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