It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of emails, meetings and deadlines. Many of us get consumed by the day-to-day and miss opportunities to further our careers and focus on our professional development. There are obvious times when you need to speak up for yourself— whether that means asking for a raise or being vocal about your ambitions. Knowing how to advocate for yourself on a daily basis can help you to successfully make these asks and negotiate more effectively.
Here are 3 steps that you should take to advocate for yourself at work:
Communicate your goals upfront
The first step to achieving your career goals is to make them known. If nobody knows what your goals are, they can’t help you make progress toward them. While you may be fortunate to have a good manager, who will ask about your aspirations, others may not. You will have to take the initiative to speak up for yourself. Regardless of how the conversation starts, be open with what you want and what you would like to achieve.
A great way to showcase your value is by showing your impact on a regular basis. You should do this regardless of whether you’re working toward a raise or promotion. Everyone is busy, so don’t expect your superiors to note every win you have. It’s up to you to keep track of your accomplishments and share them with the relevant people.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your performance and development. Use both your peers and manager as they will often be able to bring different insights. This can be especially helpful for tasks like project management that aren’t as visible to others in the company. Use the opportunity to advocate for yourself by asking if you are on track to meet your goals and where you have room to improve.
Create a career development plan with your manager
You are in control of your career path, so get in the driver’s seat! Creating a mutual action plan with your manager is imperative to your growth. If you haven’t done so already, start a living document that you both can reference during your one-on-ones.
Your plan should include:
- Your goals and objectives – make sure they align with you KPIs and ideally showcase how they are impacting the company’s goals
- Areas or skills you want to develop to reach these goals
- Areas or skills that your manager thinks you could grow
- Tactical steps you are taking to make progress
- Measurable milestones or targets for accountability
The best part about having this shared document is that everything is in writing. You can use it to track your progress and ensure that both parties are clear on the action items. Plus, it’s an easy reference for advocating and negotiating for yourself.
Exploring other paths ahead of you.
Complacency is a common roadblock to career growth. Even if you’re happy at the moment, it never hurts to explore other paths, plan for your next step or think longer-term when it comes to your career. Maybe you’re currently in a customer success role but want to try your hand on the sales team, or vice versa. Talk to your manager about what could be next for you.
Helping you navigate your career is part of their responsibilities. Be open about the changes you want to make, and the strengths that you bring to the table. Remember, exploratory conversations are okay, even if you aren’t sure of the possibilities or outcomes.
You are the driving force behind your career development, but you don’t have to do it alone. Communicate your aspirations widely but most importantly with your manager and make an action plan. This will help you to better advocate for yourself at work and meet your goals. You’ll feel more empowered to negotiate for what you want and take actionable steps in your professional development.
For more insights on Negotiating For Yourself, stream our recent panel event here.