There are times when you need to speak up for yourself in the workplace. Perhaps you want to take on a new project, ask for a pay rise, or even request time off. These all require you to be self-aware and confident enough to voice your opinions and stand up for what you believe is right, even if that goes against what your boss or colleagues think. If you’re reading this article it likely means that at some point in your career, you’ve struggled with being heard or taken seriously in the workplace.
Self-advocacy is something that many people struggle with because they feel like they should know these things without having to be told them. However, we live in a world where some people have more opportunities than others based on their gender, race and class; meaning that not everyone has access to the same information as others from such a young age that prevents them from feeling confident about speaking up for themselves at work. Read on for our step-by-step guide explaining how to practice self-advocacy in the workplace.
What is Self-Advocacy?
Self-advocacy is the first step to fully understanding how you can make work better for yourself. Being able to confidently stand up for yourself is a skill that will serve you throughout your entire career. By practicing self-advocacy now, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself without fearing the consequences of what your colleagues and boss might think of you. This means learning how to communicate your ideas and opinions confidently, as well as standing up for yourself when you’re faced with a difficult situation or someone who’s undermining your authority.
Step 1: Know Your Worth
At the end of the day, you must know your worth before you speak up for yourself at work. In order for your self-advocacy to be effective and for you to maintain your self-confidence, you need to understand the value you bring to the table. You must be clear with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, and understand what you can offer the company.
This way, you’ll be able to articulate your value to your superiors and confidently request what you need in order to perform your best at work. You can do this by keeping a journal where you write down your strengths and weaknesses. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper so that you can see them objectively and make changes as necessary.
Step 2: Set Realistic Goals
Before you decide to ask your boss for a promotion or a pay raise, you must have a clear understanding of what you want and why you want it. Using journaling, identify your goals so they are specific and achievable. Make sure that your goals are realistic. If you want a pay rise, make sure you’re clear on why you deserve it. If you want more projects, identify which projects you’re best at so you can be sure you’re taking on work you’re qualified for.
Step 3: Establish Boundaries
Self-advocacy is not just about asking for what you want or need; it’s also about knowing when to put your foot down and say no. In order to combat toxic personalities in the workplace and protect yourself from being taken advantage of, you must be confident enough to stand up for yourself whenever necessary.
There are times when your boss or colleagues might ask you to do something that is not safe for you or isn’t within your job description. In these situations, it’s important that you understand how to set boundaries. You must be able to confidently say no while also making sure that your message is received in the right way.
Step 4: Ask For What You Want
If you’ve been keeping track of the steps so far, you’re now ready to implement them in your workplace. Start by identifying what you want and why you want it. Then, make sure to communicate this to your boss and your colleagues. At first, this might be scary and nerve-racking. However, the best way to approach this is with confidence and poise. If you want to ask for a promotion, make sure you know why you deserve it. This will help you write a better resume and ace your interview. If you want to ask for more projects, practice your elevator pitch so you can confidently and clearly explain why you’re the best candidate for the job.
Step 5: Take Care of Yourself
Being able to practice self-advocacy is a great thing. However, if you don’t take care of yourself emotionally or physically, you’ll end up burning out. It’s important that you take care of yourself both mentally and physically in order to be your best, most confident self at work. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, try journaling, meditating, or even going for a walk to clear your head and find your inner calm.
This will help you combat the effects of stress, which will in turn improve your confidence and communication skills. If you follow our steps, we guarantee that you’ll be able to successfully implement self-advocacy into your working life. You’ll be able to achieve your goals, feel confident in your abilities, and most importantly, enjoy your job.