Cathy, this is a great question, and something along these lines came up in a response to another piece I wrote when I said something like this:
“Be on the lookout for people who use the word ‘we’ in job interviews and never use the word ‘I.’”
Someone pointed out (rightly so) that most women are encouraged not to use the word “I,” lest they be tagged as arrogant or a know-it-all.
Here’s the thing: leaders need to be able to look past all the garbage in an organization — the politics, the players, the process, the dead weight — and find the person who is actually contributing value.
As for women and men alike, we should all be able to say “Yes, I did this, but here are all the people who helped.”
Probably a more concise way to say that point is this:
Be modest. Do the best work you can do. Accept credit, but do not seek credit.
No matter what gender you are.