By Ginni Chen (Chief Happiness Officer, iDoneThis)
How many times have you received a compliment and responded, “Oh it’s nothing!”? I’ve done this countless times. In fact, I still do. I do it almost reflexively, because I want to seem humble, modest, unobtrusive, not a braggart, or attention-hungry or a brown-noser. I do it because I want approval of my personality at the small cost of belittling my hard work. I do it because I can almost hear my mother asking, “What kind of woman acknowledges her achievements with wanton, brazen recklessness?”
Successful women acknowledge their achievements.
According to a 2011 survey by Catalyst, “Two of the biggest barriers for women in advancing their careers are: (1) failure to make their achievements known and (2) to find people who could help their careers.”
The same study elaborated that women who proactively made their achievements known experienced greater career advancement, increase in compensation and career satisfaction than women who didn’t.
Further, successful women find sponsors. Sponsors are people who talk about you and advocate for you, which in turn gets you promoted. Finding sponsors, however, requires talking about and advocating for yourself first. So how do we become successful, happily-employed women who toot our own horns and find others to toot it for us?
Start with social tech tools at the workplace.
Social tech tools are a natural solution and a great place for women to announce their achievements while building up more confidence and ability to promote themselves. Social tech tools help companies create cultures where workplace achievement is less “me me me” and more “we we we.” This creates an environment in which women’s careers can thrive.
Tools like Asana and iDoneThis, for example, help even the most unassuming woman to build a clear, visible record of her valuable contributions to the team. Tools like Yammer and Campfire allow women to connect and interact with team members in real time about projects they’re working on, laying the foundation for workplace advocates and sponsors.
Here are 3 ways to use collaborative business apps to succeed at work:
#1 – Social tech tools are a friendly, non-confrontational means to share milestones.
Why? Because they don’t require in-your-face announcements of accomplishments.
Women can share their progress and achievements at work without being put on the spot or compelled to compete with colleagues for attention. They can record, share and celebrate their accomplishments without worrying about seeming boastful or aggressively self-promotional.
Because social communication tools at work are unobtrusive, intimate and passive, they can help make announcements seem that way as well.
#2 – Social tools at the workplace help women find sponsors.
Rather than reporting their work to their managers in closed communication, social tools at the workplace make women’s hard work transparent to everyone.
Additionally, these tools encourage regular interaction and individualized feedback. When everyone can see each other’s achievements and interact around them, it creates many more opportunities to form a relationship of advocacy and sponsorship.
#3 – Social tools at work foster relationships that are project-relevant and work-related, rather than gender-specific.
Too often, women mentors and mentees are paired up solely on the basis of having female-ness in common. Sometimes, they may not even work together on any projects. With social tech tools at the workplace, interaction takes place around specific tasks and projects on a daily basis. This creates more opportunities to advance women’s career interests and leadership roles more directly and relevantly.
Innovative, fast-growing companies are increasingly using social tools to foster transparency, enhance engagement, encourage teamwork and increase productivity. We women should harness these communicative tools to overcome our biggest career barriers: lack of recognition for our work and lack of advocacy for our work.
Women 2.0 readers: What social tools do you use in your company to share and celebrate a job well done? Let us know in the comments.
About the guest blogger: Ginni Chen is the Chief Happiness Officer at iDoneThis, the easiest team-building task management tool around. She’s committed to changing the way people work so that people are more productive, more motivated, and happier at their jobs. Follow her on Twitter at @GinniChenFollow.