Some leaders tend toward being humble. They actually don’t enjoy public recognition. They are satisfied knowing, in their hearts, that they did a good job.
That’s fine…and it’s simply not good enough. The thing is, everyone is too busy doing their own thing to notice when we do something important. That’s why self promotion is important.
A case study: I recently had a coaching conversation with a highly accomplished physician. He was describing how he implemented a new patient care system that was literally saving lives. When asked how he was sharing the results he was getting, he mentioned how he didn’t want recognition for it. He was extremely happy for the gratitude he was getting from patients, but he felt that telling administrators and colleagues about it was “tooting his own horn.” As he put it, “this is the last stage of my career, I’ll retire from this position, so I don’t need to promote myself.”
I asked him to consider the legacy he wanted to leave. How would future providers know to carry on this important work unless he told some stories about it? Sure, he might have documentation of what he’d done, but how likely is it that anyone will look in the files? Storytelling is one way of creating organizational memory.
Finally, this physician agreed that perhaps sharing a few successes each month to administrators might be worth the effort.
While he may not need the recognition for him to feel satisfied, he’s honoring the important work he’s doing. He’s helping it get amplified with self promotion so that others will remember, be inspired by and add to as time goes on.