You Should Be Acting More American To Succeed At Work, Apparently

It all comes down to the subtle art of bragging.
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Brits need to boast more like our American cousins, according to experts, if we want to climb that ladder in the workplace.

While people in the UK are typically seen as the self-deprecating, hide-a-light-under-a-bushel kind of group, those across the pond have more of a reputation of talking up both their own and others’ achievements.

And this is no bad thing – we should *all* be doing a little self-promotion now and again, specialists believe.

According to the author of Brag Better, Meredith Fineman, talking yourself up is actually a part of your role.

“The fear of bragging strikes all the wrong people,” Fineman is quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. “We aren’t going to get those loud people to be quiet.”

She is also quoted in The Times as saying: “There’s this misconception that talking about your work is not part of your job, but it is. It makes you a good communicator.

“People think it’s really all just fluff but it’s a huge part of your work, especially when there’s so much remote [working].

“You have to do bragging double duty because people aren’t in the room.”

This is particularly true for women, founder of consultancy Humane Startup and certified psychotherapist Ashlie Collins said in The Times.

She explained: “Across the board, women feel less comfortable than men. Women feel they will be judged differently – they will be seen as aggressive rather than confident.”

Women already struggle with the gender-pay gap – as the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found in 2019 that the average working-age woman in the UK earned 40% less than the male counterpart – so “boasting” about your competence could become an essential way to stop yourself from being overlooked.

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But just how do you brag, and brag well?

Experts suggest it is best to be authentic when it comes to the art of boasting, by telling others about the accomplishments you’re genuinely excited for.

So, when you share a self-deprecating statement which is actually meant to draw attention to an achievement – by asking yourself why you’re sharing it.

Are you talking about your achievement because it’s relevant to the conversation and success you’re proud of, or are you trying a bit of faux humility?

A study from researchers at City University London, Carnegie Mellon University and Bocconi University found in 2015 found humble-bragging backfires, and creates a negative reaction in people.

At the conclusion of their paper, the researchers advised: “Faced with the choice to (honestly) brag or (deceptively) humblebrag, would-be self-promoters should choose the former – and at least reap the rewards of seeming sincere.”

On the other hand, if you’re struggling to recall your successes, try to make a list of when you receive praise or perform well, as a means to pat yourself on the back.

This makes it easier to call upon your success when pressed, for instance, when you’re asking for a promotion or a pay rise.

Try to frame it as “praising oneself”, according to Dr Audrey Tang, a charactered psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

She was quoted in The Times as saying: “There is a place for self-deprecation but it needs to be used sparingly. If you rely on it as a mechanism it can undercut you.”

Dr Tang said it’s key to stick to the facts with evidence, with means to measure your success.

But, don’t forget to praise colleagues, too.

Aliza Licht, author of ‘On Brand’, also suggested to the Wall Street Journal that you recommend promoting five other people for every self-focused post you share on places such as LinkedIn.

“When you make it about yourself, that’s when everyone is, like, ‘OK, she needs to be quiet.’ People start to root against you.”