Celebrating success can be an intimidating notion for women in business, but it can also be the gateway to greater achievements.
As an entrepreneur and author, I continually struggle with celebrating success. My business partner and I addressed this challenge in our book, The Boss of You, and it’s an issue that plagues many of our female business colleagues. Celebrating success seems to be viewed as either uncomfortably egotistical, or a waste of time for busy leaders who have already moved on to the next task. I’ve made a concerted effort to acknowledge my career accomplishments as they happen, and I’ve finally found the ultimate motivator: new research shows that not claiming achievements holds women back from achieving the same compensation and job satisfaction as men.
A recent report from Catalyst, a non-profit organization focused on expanding opportunities for women in business, looks at whether or not doing “all the right things” will advance a woman’s career in the same way that it will a man’s career. They define “all the right things” as actively seeking high-profile assignments and new opportunities, forming relationships with influential leaders, communicating openly and honestly about career aspirations, and other strategic career moves. According to their research, eight of the nine “right things” have a more positive impact for men than for women. The one exception: making career achievements visible.
Catalyst’s research shows that publicly celebrating and acknowledging successes has more impact on women’s compensation, career advancement, and satisfaction than directly negotiating for higher compensation.
Tooting our own horn is, sadly, not something at which women excel; it doesn’t seem to come naturally to us. As I reflect on the women I know who are great at attracting attention for their accomplishments, I realize that they are the ones whom I would describe as wildly successful.
Often when women do celebrate their own success, they have difficultly taking sole responsibility for their achievement, pointing immediately to the group of people who helped them get there. This kind of humility, whether innate or socialized, is where we should look to start shifting the trend. And for those who are reluctant to take centre stage, this is a great place to start. Simply remind yourself that, if you don’t start to take some credit, you can’t begin to share that credit.
I challenge women to put themselves in the spotlight and celebrate their achievements. Figure out how you are going to get comfortable with publicly celebrating your successes and do it. Your career may in fact depend on it.