No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Self-Promotion is a Leadership Killer

It's a favorite quote, one I think you've heard before and maybe even in this blog, some famous words of Margaret Thatcher: "Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you're one, you aren't." Or something to that effect.

That's the other problem I have with the idea of personal branding, which I wrote about earlier this week. Self-promotion just doesn't work. People are sick of being sold stuff, and they get turned off pretty quickly if you try to sell yourself. That's true for your bosses, and it's true for your team. And it's especially true for your peers; they're just as good as you and they don't want to hear you toot your own horn.

The fact is, if you're a good leader, your bosses are already talking about you, and so is your team. Your peers are probably already being influenced by you. Bragging is only going to damage the good reputation you've already built. If you're not a good leader, all the talk in the world won't help you. Because here's the problem: By turning people off, self-promotion destroys your ability to lead.

So focus on your team. Help them succeed. Help them grow. Move them from where they are to a better place. Do that, and you'll stand out in your organization like you're wearing a neon sign. There are lots of self-promoters and ladder-climbers. There aren't very many true leaders.

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