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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Ladies, Learn to Claim Your Achievements

I'm not speaking out of turn when I say that women are reluctant to claim their achievements. I can quickly list a dozen research documents and popular reads that call out the differences between men and women, and especially the way we, as women, undersell our successes.

I'm not saying that men are doing too much self-promotion, because its really not about what men do well. This is an issue about how women sell themselves short.


Here's an example. Women will go the extra mile. With work projects, they will dot the i's, cross the t's, check and recheck. They show up. They work on teams. They get the work done. And when its time to take the credit for their work or, more importantly, their leadership? They acknowledge others. They sell the team, even if not all on the team contributed. And they downplay their roles in the accomplishments.

WE downplay our roles in the accomplishments.

Yes, after a great deal of reflection, I do suffer from this phenomenon. When I was President of the Association of California School Administrators, it was all about the team. What WE did well. How WE pushed forward with the strategic plan. I wasn't good with compliments and I would downplay or dodge the praise and put it all back on the team.

You know what I should have done more frequently? I should have just said, "thank you."

The same goes for praise at work. A simple thank you when others commended my leadership should have been the better response. I, too, suffer from feeling uncomfortable with drawing attention to my own achievements. Yes, leaders do have to do that along the way, but generally if the team, group or organization have been successful, the leader probably had a pretty significant role in setting up the environment where those successes could happen in the first place.

The moral of the story? Take the darn credit when credit is given. A simple "thank you" is great....and then STOP. Don't talk. Just take it in. Because that is leadership too. Leadership is about accepting what others have to say, including the positives, and realizing that letting the compliments and praise come is more about being respectful of the giver of the acknowledgements and less about ourselves.

So try it.

"Thank you."

And that is all.

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