A recent survey of Australia’s top business women found that women are much more inclined to attribute their success to teamwork, referring to ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ or ‘I’ when discussing their achievements. This is, as we know, in stark contrast to business men, who are happy to take centre stage and talk up their achievements to get ahead.
Why aren’t we taking credit for our achievements and should women be making more of an effort to talk up our achievements? Tell us what you think in the comments below or comment on our Facebook Page.
The poll of 104 state and territory finalists in the 2012 Telstra Business Women’s Awards showed that an overwhelming 92% of our most successful business women say they place more value on teamwork than on their individual achievements.
Whilst a more modest approach is required when accepting awards (imagine the reaction if a woman didn’t thank a team of people in her acceptance speech), talking down our achievements could actually be holding many women back in the workplace.
We’ve all done it, attributed a successful outcome to teamwork and taken none of the credit for ourselves. But have you ever considered how this could be interpreted by the boss? “She’s a great team player but what we really need is a stand-out leader.”
Author of the Job Seeking Index and one of the world’s leading authorities on sales call reluctance, Shannon L. Goodson, says the lack of effective self-promotion by women plays an often neglected role in the salary and status disparities between men and women.
Shannon L Goodson told Australian Women Online back in 2008: “Being able to draw appropriate attention to your contributions and competencies at work has become an important part of modern career management whether we like it or not, and it is something most women are still unwilling or unable to do as consistently as their male counterparts.”
“Women typically have bought into the old myth that if you work hard and keep your nose to the grind stone that you’ll be recognised and promoted. But it just doesn’t work that way anymore,” she said.
Now I’m not saying that women should go around boasting about their achievements at every opportunity. The last thing you want is to get a reputation as ‘the office bitch’. But when it comes time to hand out the latest round of promotions, you’ll want the people making the decisions to know what your achievements are. Similarly, if you own a business, you’ll want any potential investors as well as those you want to do business with, to know you have an outstanding record of achievements.
If you’re uncomfortable with talking about your achievements, think about it this way. Allowing your achievements to be known will inspire others and set a good example for other women in the workplace. After all, people are most inspired by individual achievements, not groups. When was the last time you were really inspired by a team of people? But we are inspired by the achievements of individuals every day of the week.
For me, one of the highlights of the 2012 Telstra Business Women’s Awards survey was the high percentage of business women who say they are sharing their knowledge and years of experience with other women.
Seventy-four per cent of those surveyed said they currently mentor other women. But if successful women are talking down their own achievements, we have to wonder what type of message this is sending to the next generation of business women.