Promote yourself but don’t brag: Joe Scarlett

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By Joe Scatlett, former CEO of Tractor Supply

January 11, 2019

 

“It is good to do good in the community. And it is also good to be known for doing good.” A wise mentor of mine uttered these words many years ago when discussing a community initiative at Tractor Supply. I never forgot this declaration. When we make a contribution of any kind to our business or community it is human nature to yearn for a little credit. To put it another way, we all want recognition for doing good. It feels good.

However, bragging is a different thing altogether. Folks who drone on and on about personal accomplishments or name drop in a futile attempt to stand out eventually isolate themselves. Why? Because braggarts are boring. On the flipside, some people never toot their own horn. That’s not the best solution either. There’s a careful balance that will help determine your success as a leader.

Follow this roadmap to pave your career path in a positive way.

  • Build a bond with your boss. Talk about your ambitions. Ask for advice and guidance. Most superiors would be happy to see you be even more successful. Remember, it could be a feather in your leader’s cap, too. Your boss could easily become your No. 1 promoter.
  • Volunteer for tough assignments. Take on hard projects with confidence and follow through. You will get noticed, and these assignments can often lead to bigger, better opportunities.
  • Branch beyond your bubble. Attend events that help your skill base — and your contact list. Make a list of important trade shows, industry classes, seminars, etc. that could help your cause.
  • Network in your company. You don’t have to attend an industry event to grow your network. Start by building solid relationships with your peers and in other parts of the organization. Have lunch once and a while and discuss big-picture issues with an eye on the future.
  • Meet your business community. Stepping out to share business cards, thoughts and ideas with peers and business leaders still works wonders. And you will be surprised by how eager acquaintances are to help when asked.
  • Ask for the intro. If during a conversation someone mentions the name of a person you would like to meet, go ahead and ask for an introduction. It’s not considered too forward in a professional environment. Go for it.
  • Share others’ successes. Always speak well of others on your team and in your company. Share the accomplishments of your peers and competitors.
  • Stand up for the right values. Always walk the high road in every situation, both personally and professionally.
  • Become a good public speaker. It can be hard to motivate for something that “puts you out there,” but I promise public speaking pays off. You will get better with practice.
  • Just smile. Even the act of smiling can put you (and others!) in a more positive, productive mindset. Be friendly, and always conduct yourself with an “I have no enemies” attitude.

Building solid relationships is an important step in gaining positive exposure. Stay humble, but don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments. You deserve the respect you’ve earned.

 

Joe Scarlett is the retired CEO of Tractor Supply Company
For more on leadership see joescarlett.com
Or write Joe at Joe@joescarlett.com

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