The Career Woman’s Guide to Self-Advocacy in the Workplace

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Source: | The Career Woman’s Guide to Self-Advocacy in the Workplace | Work takes up a lot of our time. When we’re surrounded by the same people so often, we want to make sure that our office is an empowering space where we feel seen and heard. But we also want to avoid unnecessary conflict. 

Even in the most peaceful offices, tricky situations will arise. It’s crucial that we learn how to navigate these situations without putting strain on our office life or compromising our feelings and needs. 

Explaining your thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly and accurately is an important skill to learn. Communication is the key to a healthy office life, so learning how to convey your needs while remaining civil is ideal. Jump down to the infographic or read on for ways to self-advocate in the office.

Presenting Your Ideas

Presenting your thoughts and ideas can be intimidating. You can make it easier on yourself by being prepared and practicing what you’re going to say ahead of time. Be prepared with answers to any questions people may ask, and make sure you speak slowly and clearly so you accurately represent yourself. 

Asking for Help 

Let’s face it: everybody needs to ask for help sometimes. There can be a stigma that makes asking for help seem like a negative thing, but doing so is actually just looking out for yourself. When asking for help, make sure you’re direct with your needs and explain exactly what you want. Make sure you’re also conscious of your coworker’s time so you don’t seem ungrateful. 

Giving Upward Feedback

Upward feedback means critiquing your manager or supervisor — a process that can be extremely intimidating. When you’re giving feedback to a manager, be sure to schedule a meeting at a convenient time for you both and speak clearly and fairly. You want to be sure you are speaking rationally and with purpose so you can incite meaningful conversation. 

Asking for a Raise

No one likes talking about money — in or out of the office. But asking for a raise can help you grow in your career and be fairly compensated for your work.  Make sure you ask for a raise at  low-stress time for your company, when the meeting won’t be swept under the rug. Also try to time your meeting just after you’ve scored a big win or worked on a big project, when you have concrete examples of your contributions to the company. 
Letting Someone Go

Letting someone go is always awkward, but it’s important to do if someone is no longer a good fit for the company or breaks a policy. These situations should be handled lightly to avoid conflict. Be direct without being too hard, and be prepared to communicate firmly but with understanding. Also make sure you get straight to the point to avoid any confusion. 

Asking for a Promotion

Generally, if you aren’t moving up at your company it’s time to move on. It’s important to facilitate conversations about moving up if you’re starting to feel unappreciated, but asking for a promotion is hard! Make sure you’re familiar with your company’s growth trajectory, then schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss how your accomplishments align with the company goals. 

Saying No to a Project

Burnout is real. Don’t apologize when you need to say no to extra work or a work social event that you can’t attend. Remember that everyone needs to say no sometimes, and it isn’t a negative thing to do! Be firm but kind, and always offer a compromise when possible. 

Bringing Up Annoyances

It’s near inevitable that, at some point, a coworker will do something to annoy you. Instead of losing your cool and lashing out, it’s important to stay calm and friendly while voicing your concerns. Try to find the balance between firm and understanding, and if possible present a solution to the problem that will work for both of you. 

For a summary of self-advocacy tips for the office, check out this infographic from Bestow.