Self-advocating in the Workplace
What exactly is self-advocacy, and why is it important? Self-advocacy is the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests. Self-advocacy in the workplace plays a huge role in our position within our organization. Yes, it may seem scary, but it is up to you to ensure that your voice is heard. This is not about being the loudest or an extrovert. It is simply standing up for yourself, making your requests known, and getting what you deserve. Let’s talk about it.
Keeping Track of Your Accomplishments
I received this piece of advice from a wise and knowledgeable leader many years ago. Nobody knows what you do better than you. Your supervisor may see what you do as an outsider looking in, but only you have a front-row seat to your accomplishments. I always keep a running log of my accomplishments. Whether volunteering at the local homeless shelter for 4 hours this month or getting recognized by someone for my outstanding work on a project, I write it down. By doing this, you have a timeline and record when it comes to your performance evaluation.
To add to this, do not fall into the trap of only focusing on yourself. What are you doing for your organization? Do your goals align with organizational goals? If you are a nurse, are you professionally representing your clinic? Do you care about your patients, or are you punching the clock? These are important questions to ask yourself.
Make Your Requests Known to the Person Who Can Honor It
There is no need to request or ask someone something about your career if they cannot make that happen. I should not be going to a co-worker venting about time off when I can go directly to my supervisor and make the request.
Speak Up Honestly and Openly During Meetings
How often are we in a meeting and information directed at us that we do not necessarily agree with? I can account for a few times myself. Self-advocating comes into play when you speak up about something with which you are not on the same page. This does not mean being disrespectful or even combative. It simply means you have a voice. If someone with no children suggests everyone stay three hours after work to complete a project, and you are a single parent, you should speak up about that. Instead of going with the flow, remember silence is taken as agreement. Sometimes we must make sacrifices to meet the mission, but being blindsided or forced to do so with short notice can be a problem.
Know Your Worth
It can be scary to ask for a raise, apply for a new position, or take on a big project. You know your worth and what you are capable of, so stop doubting or selling yourself short. If your evaluations reflect great work performance, there is no doubt you are worthy of a promotion or advancement.
Ask yourself this, are you self-advocating in your workplace?