Self-Advocacy in the Workplace
In this ever-changing world, it is essential to be able to advocate for yourself if you want to get ahead. However, when your workplace is going through changes with new leadership or new colleagues, knowing how to navigate this can be difficult and sometimes tricky depending upon circumstances. Here are some tips on how to ensure that your voice is heard and that you don't end up feeling undervalued, overlooked or worse a castaway, Tom Hanks style.
Start by Taking Action
The first step to advocating for yourself in a changing workplace is engagement. This means actively participating in meetings, proposing ideas and solutions, and being willing to take on extra responsibilities. Make sure you stay up to date with the current organizational changes and all the happenings in your company. This will show leadership as well as your colleagues that you are invested in the company’s future and that you take initiative in a positive and supportive way.
Understand Your Value
The second step to advocating for yourself is understanding your value as an employee. You need to know what skills and qualities make you unique from others. Take some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as both an employee and a person. Writing down your reflections and talking with a friend or mentor may be helpful. Next, outline the ways you can use those traits to benefit your company. Understanding how valuable of an asset you are will make it easier for you to communicate this value effectively when advocating for yourself. Believe in yourself! #knowyourvalue
Set Goals & Push Forward
Finally, set goals for yourself before pushing forward with any sort of advocacy campaign or plan of action. Think about what outcomes or results would make you feel successful, recognized or appreciated as an employee. Having clear goals will help you maintain focus during times of change and will also give your boss something specific to work towards when considering how best utilize your talents within the changing organization.
By setting goals, it will be easier for everyone involved—from leadership to teammates and to yourself – to understand what needs to be done and how best to support each other during uncertain times, times of transition or frankly anytime.
Knowing how to advocate for yourself may seem like a daunting task when faced with workplace changes or seemingly strong-willed bosses; however, by taking action, understanding your value as an employee, and setting clear goals ahead of time, it can actually become quite manageable and also, rewarding! So now’s the perfect time start, so speak up and promote yourself!