How to Take Credit for Your Accomplishments

behind every successful woman is herself The Way Women WorkWhen we posted this photo-quote on Facebook and Twitter, we immediately heard back from women all over the world.

Some overwhelmingly endorsed the sentiment, ‘behind every successful woman is herself.‘ Others didn’t agree, citing the support we get from family, friends and colleagues.

Naturally, we all recognize that there is a great deal that goes into anyone’s success. But for us, this quote was an acknowledgement of two things:

  1. The incredible amount of hard work women put in to succeed.
  2. A primary finding of our research: that women who are most successful in emerging and developing economies have confidence and rely heavily on themselves to get ahead.

But, there is a persistent behavior that hinders women’s success: the habit of not accepting credit for their own accomplishments.

Much research has been conducted on this topic. You can read one recent study here.

Instead of more data, I want to give you some words and tips to use in accepting credit for your results and accomplishments OR for times when you need to sell yourself during an interview or in a conversation with a client.

Regarding results achieved:

Instead of saying:

  • “We have been giving a lot of opportunities.”
  • “I have a great team.”
  • “We’ve been lucky.”


  • “Thank you, I have I am proud/pleased with my role (leading or as a member of our team) and the results we’ve achieved.”

Regarding an accomplishment (with a client or on project):

Instead of saying:

  • “I cannot take all the credit, it was a team effort.”


  • “It was great that our client/partner was pleased with my work and contribution. I worked hard (along with the team) to make this successful for our company.”
  • “I  am glad that you see my hard work reflected in our results.”

Regarding an idea you’ve offered:

Instead of saying:

  • “It was nothing, everyone has good ideas.”


  • “I’m glad my input was helpful and can add value to our work.”

Regarding an opportunity you have been presented with:

Instead of saying:

  • “I hope I can meet your expectations.”


  • “Thank you, I look forward to making a significant contribution.”

My mother always told me that when someone pays you a compliment it is exactly the same as if they had given you a gift. The appropriate response when someone gives you a gift is “Thank you.” So why, when most of us have been taught to be kind and gracious, cannot we not accept compliments or positive feedback on results we produce?

Acknowledging your role in creating results will help your career or business.

I urge you to try it! At a minimum it will make those who compliment or ask about your accomplishments feel appreciated.

There is, of course, a time when it’s appropriate to acknowledge your team, and other times when it’s appropriate to take credit. But, too often women don’t take credit and too quickly attribute success to others. In contrast, one of the most frequent pieces of feedback that I give male executives I coach is to use the word “we” more frequently than “I” in communicating about results at work. Men are typically very quick to take credit for and make their accomplishments known.

So, take credit for your accomplishments. I know you have a lot to be proud of!

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