“I am too Modest” – This Statement may be Hurting Your Career

Modesty is equated with not being boastful or self-promoting. Talking about our accomplishments is often perceived as being egotistical and can leave a bad taste for those listening. However, when it comes to your career growth, is your modesty in fact holding you back?

Why being modest is not ‘good business practice’

Being modest in the corporate world doesn’t benefit you or your team. In order to get the recognition that you deserve, it is important to sell yourself and manage up. Hone your ability to value yourself so that others can see your value. I’ve worked with great leaders who are masters in being both humble and yet not modest. They make the time to expose their results as a team which in turn helps to gain visibility and resources to do even more. They get the exposure they’ve rightfully earned. In short, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with not being modest.

Often times, being reserved and humble about your achievements in the workplace could be a problem of not seeing your value. What’s the remedy?

How do you stop yourself from being ‘too modest’?

Develop a conscious habit to:

  • Define your own value proposition. Put on paper what you bring to the table. Ask yourself the following questions: “What are your accomplishments and results to your organization? Are you creating value to your company? Are you creating value to yourself? Are you creating value to your team?”
  • Manage up. Expose yourself and your team in terms of showing the results. This will help to further your career in terms of getting what you need and getting the resources to move your team forward. There are a wide range of actions to manage up including: scheduling meetings with upper management, taking on larger projects, accepting speaking opportunities or becoming a thought leader.
  • Check your assumptions.  Ask yourself, “What thoughts come to mind when I think of showing off my value? Am I afraid of being perceived as being a bragger? How are these assumptions serving me as a leader?”
  • Adapt your mindset. Do some soul searching to determine if your modesty is related with being too judgmental with yourself. Leadership coaching is one strategy that could help you to overcome this and serve as a catalyst for positive transformation. Take concrete actions to train your brain to act with a learner’s mindset.

The reality is that no one understands your strengths as intimately as you do. You know what you can bring to the table. Getting results is only part of your job as a leader. Building upon your success and seeking out opportunities to expose these triumphs is the cherry on top. It is then, that you will see real progress happen in your career.


Leticia Hartmann is a Certified Executive Coach who specializes in leadership development and career growth. She is the founder of Exploritat.