Do you love listening to a braggart?

Bragging is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a pompous or boastful statement.

Yet how do we stand out, let others know our value, crediblity, contribution if we don’t find some way to ‘brag without bragging’?

I recall often feeling trapped listening to a boss, who no one believed had any self or social awareness, how he constantly excelled in leadership and professional development assessments. “I alwasy score highly these tools – I’m considered an exceptional leader.”

It took a lot of inner strength to not react.

He would brag about how much of an excellent leader he was but the reality was different. [Under his leadership we lost 21 staff in ~7 months.] I often thought he did the bragging because there was an underlying need for acceptance or praise. 

Value, voice and visibility are three areas that you can foucs on to amplify your self-leadership. Visibility is where you can, amongst other strategies, stand out.

Standing out – savvy self-promotion rather than cringey bragging – has positives worth considering, for example:

  • It can lead to new opportunities
  • You could get a pay rise
  • If feels great and can be a motivator
  • It can boost your self-confidence
  • it can increase or improve the confidence others have in you

So how can you stand out the right way? Earning recognition is best achieved through consistent and reliable performance. Your integrity and commitment will also go a long way to helping you stand out.


Here are three more strategies that can also help you stand out

1. Apply for Awards

If you’ve never seen yourself as having anything to brag about; if self-promotion is something quite foreign to you then I suggest you consider applying for an award. There are hundreds of industry awards, maybe your organisation also has annual awards.

The process of applying for an award will, first and foremost, help you realise just how much you’ve achieved and contributed.

If you become a finalist and or a winner you have the opportunity to leverage that to promote yourself and even your work / team / organisation.

Using a humble brag approach will come off as somewhat ineffective, less likeable and less credible than if you simply state the outcome, according to research by Sezer, Gina, and Norton. They suggest that stating the win, in a matter of fact manner has a more positive impact.


When I first one an award, my mentor asked me how I was going to
leverage it. My inner voice said, “Oh no, I have to brag about this.” I
asked my mentor, how do I brag without bragging. Her advice was golden:
Acknowledge the clients, opportunities and work you’ve been privileged to do, because without that work and those people the award would not have been even possible. Be humble, grateful and matter of fact.


2. Answer the Question

If someone asks you about your strengths, skills, accomplishments, share them. According to research, not disclosing can have a negative impact, leaving you looking less trustworthy. So, if you’re asked, you have permission, there’s less judgement. Don’t be coy, go for it!

3. Be Balanced

Those who can share a balanced and measured view of themselves rather than just sharing only successes will come across as approachable and credible. This is not about downplaying something positive, but rather not over stating.  

If you are acknowledged by someone else, that is, they are helping you stand out by highlighting your strengths, expertise, value, be sure to avoid downplaying it … you can simply say, thank you.

Your visiblity as a leader can give those who follow you more or less confidence to follow. Don’t miss your chance to stand out for the right reasons.

Where else could you stand out?