This DATIS blog article, “How To Praise Yourself at Work- And How Not To“, was originally posted by Alexander Kjerulf, The Chief Happiness Officer Blog, on January 20th, 2016 and was reposted with permission.
Is it OK to praise yourself at work?
Could you tell a coworker something like “Hey, let me tell you what I just did – it was AWESOME!”
Is it OK to send an email to the rest of your team to proudly share that you found a creative solution to a tough problem?
Can you take a little time in a project meeting to tell others about that task you just completed on time and under budget?
Most people are reluctant to do that. They don’t want to seem arrogant or boastful or like they have a big head. But if you ask me, it’s perfectly OK to be proud of the good work you do AND to share that pride with others.
Just as an example, If I’ve given a speech that I felt went REALLY well (which happens all the time these days) I share that with my coworkers. I tell them what happened and what it was that worked so well.
However, self-praise can become really annoying if you do it wrong 🙂 Here are 8 tips for praising yourself at work:
1: Only praise yourself when you’ve earned it
Just like any other praise, self-praise must be earned. You must have done something awesome before you praise yourself, otherwise it’s completely meaningless.
2: Share the praise
If you praise yourself for something you’ve done together with others, then you must include them in the praise. In that case you don’t say “I’m awesome,” you say “We’re awesome.”
3: Don’t always only praise yourself
It’s no good if you always only praise yourself and never recognize others. It’s required of all of us self-praisers that we’re especially good at acknowledging the cool things others do.
4: Admit your mistakes too
If you’re good at praising yourself when you rock, you should be the first to admit when you suck, apologize for your mistakes and be willing to learn from them and improve. People who can only see the good they do and completely overlook their own flaws invite nothing but scorn and contempt.
In fact, why not celebrate your mistakes?
5: Praise yourself with genuine enthusiasm
When you praise yourself, do it with an honest infectious enthusiasm. It’s OK to be proud of yourself. It’s OK to have a smile on your face, a spring in your step and pride in your voice when you share your accomplishments. In fact, it will be received more positively by others than if you do it with false humility.
6: Moderation in all things
It goes without saying that anything can be overdone – including self-praise. Don’t overdo it.
7: Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect. It’s banal but true. Try it, see what works and then improve from there.
8: Be ready to face scepticism
Praise is sorely lacking from many workplace – including self-praise. This may lead to scepticism and resistance from others if you start doing it. If this happens, consider carefully if the criticism is because you’ve gone too far – in which case you should listen to it – or if it’s simply that people are not used to it – in which case you should continue doing it.
Why you should praise yourself
We can see four major advantages of self-praise. First, when you share your successes, others can learn from your best practices and maybe apply them themselves.
Secondly, genuine enthusiasm is infectious. When you share something that made you happy, others become a little happier too.
Thirdly, you can inspire others to also share their victories, so the whole team becomes better at sharing what works, to the benefit of all.
And finally, if you are good at praising yourself, you’re not as dependent on receiving praise from others. As Spencer Tracy put it:
It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it.