How to Advocate in the Workplace

Recently one of my clients, who is now in her dream career, was discussing with me during a session how she wanted to be part of a new cross-department committee, but when she suggested it, it wasn’t received well.

When she shared with me HOW she had made the request it sounded a bit like a bull in a china shop. We began to break down how she made the request and why it wasn’t received well.

How could she change how she asked in a way that shows the value of her being on the team?

Instead of her more direct and demanding request,how could she communicate the benefit to the company?

This is what having a voice at the table is about. When she went back and made her request again, following the steps we had laid out for her, she got on the committee. 

Being an advocate for yourself and having your voice heard is the key to career advancement and success.

In order to advocate for yourself you need to: 

  1. Know yourself. 
  2. Know your needs. 
  3. Know how to get what you need.

The key to effectively advocating for yourself or others is tapping into your inner greatness and identifying exactly what you want. This awareness will allow you to not only live a more intentional life, but also to achieve your career goals.

Keep in mind, advocating means being assertive not aggressive. You need to stay calm, focused and unemotional. Keep the conversation focused on what you need and why you need it or why the cause matters, not on casting blame or criticizing others.

In order to advocate for yourself you need to understand two things - How to Quiet Your Inner Critic and Own Your Worth.

Do you allow the voice in your head that speaks all the negative talk to have center stage? This is only hurting your odds of using your own voice to ask for what you want. In order to step into the role and career you desire we need to reverse this negative self talk.

One of the ways I do this with my clients is by helping them to lean into their own values and own their worth. Throughout many aspects of your life and career being able to believe in yourself, articulate your value and own your worth is critically important.

Knowing that what you have to say and what you have to offer is valuable and matters goes a long way when you are in advocating mode. Think about this from the perspective of wanting to achieve a raise. You will need to be able to effectively communicate why you are deserving of a raise and show how you have benefited the organization and that your merits warrant more money. If you do not share your accomplishments and promote your value no one else will. This is advocating for yourself. This is leaning into your value and owning your worth. This is effectively and confidently communicating your professional story.

Remember: Being your own advocate isn’t just about managing your own workload—it’s about making sure you’re being the most effective, efficient, and valuable member of the team you can be. So be proactive, and you—and your boss—will be grateful in the long run.

I know speaking up, especially in the workplace can be difficult. It’s going to take practice and looking for opportunities every single day. To support you, here are 9 ways you can improve conversations in which you are advocating for yourself.

  1. When you are advocating for yourself or a cause you need to know what you believe in and what you stand for. 
  2. You need to know the facts about what you are discussing and fighting for. In order to respectfully argue for yourself or your cause you need to be informed. 
  3. Identify the impacts. Show the dual benefits to all parties involved.
  4. You need to keep the emotions out of it, especially in the workplace.
  5. Tailor what you are saying to whom you are speaking to - know your audience. (Remember the same approach doesn’t work with everyone and your words and tone matter).
  6. Have a clear ask and KNOW YOUR WORTH.
  7. Believe in what you are asking for and have the reasons why by giving demonstrated examples.
  8. Be clear and differentiate between wants and needs.
  9. Make sure you are showing up at work, meaning that you are not just physically there but fully engaged and proactively participating in projects and meetings. You want to be seen as contributing and valued member of the workplace.

But, what there’s more…

Another part of being able to show up as your best self is taking care of yourself. Many times, I remind my clients to advocate for themselves to themselves. YOU need to be on the priority list. You need to take care of YOU so that you can be effective, productive and efficient. Hold yourself accountable for your own self care self-care. 

Romy Weiss, CPCC, MBA

Your NextSteps  Career Coach- Career Transitions & Professional/Life Coach, NextSteps Coaching & Consulting LLC

P.S. Looking for support as you make a career transition? I work with my clients in a variety of ways from landing their NEW dream job, making a career switch to climbing up the corporate ladder. Discover if Career Coaching is for you by booking a free Strategy Call here: http://bit.ly/bookRomy

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