Self-advocacy: How to get what you want in the workplace
Is there something you feel you deserve at work but don’t know how to ask for? Perhaps it’s a raise you feel you are due or a promotion to a more senior position or perhaps it’s simply to have your ideas heard. Regardless, achieving what you want in the workplace comes down to a few factors but one of the most important is your own self-advocacy.
What is self-advocacy?
To start, self-advocacy is not the same as being aggressive, self-serving, or narcissistic. It is simply the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests. Self-advocacy starts with knowing your worth and standing up for what you believe in for both ourselves and others in the workplace.
Here are some practical steps for creating a supportive environment and advocating for yourself and others in order to get what you want at work.
Change your mindset
One way to become more of a self-advocate is to seek examples and role models that demonstrate success through their own self-advocacy. Learn from them and examine your own fears of criticism or judgment surrounding asking for what you want and try to approach your given situation objectively.
Reframe your perspective
Self-advocacy is not selfish. Overcoming your fears or reluctance by finding your bigger “why” and making your request about something bigger not only gives you more motivation but also alleviates self-doubts about being “self-serving.”
Recognise your achievements
Build self-confidence and cultivate self-esteem by recognising your own achievements and believing that you deserve what you’re asking for. It could be as simple as listing out your accomplishments on a piece of paper and reading it once in a while to remind yourself that you have the power, skills, knowledge, and expertise that deserve to be acknowledged and respected.
Walk your talk
Align your words and actions with how you want yourself and others to be treated in the workplace. If you talk negatively about coworkers for speaking up, you’re deterring yourself and others from taking charge. Don’t compromise or dilute your request just to increase the chances of “getting something.” If you ask for less, you’ll certainly get less!