How to Advocate for Yourself with Emotional Intelligence in Your Career

Are you feeling frustrated that you did not get that promotion, raise, asked to attend that conference, or business trip or be part of a new project?  We all know that we often do not get everything we want off our career wish list, but when is it time to step up and advocate for yourself instead of pushing it aside? Because, the more we push it aside, or accept that it is ok is when we begin to fall into patterns of maybe this isn’t the time, or develop excuses and then our self-doubt, lower value of ourselves and lower confidence levels set in.

What is the solution? Advocating for yourself. It is time to get brave and not fear the outcomes you may hear. It is better to try than never know. You cannot create change if you do not ask for it.

Keep these helpful tips in mind to advocate for what you would like while staying positive and focused toward the outcomes you are seeking:

  1.     Ask for a meeting with the person or people you need to help you create action to the goals you are seeking. This should be a separate meeting away from the daily grind conversations and well prepared for by you.
  1.     Prepare for the meeting with providing information needed for other parties to make decisions: These include:

-Recognize that what you are asking for, whether it is a promotion, attending a conference, or leading a team, how it will add value to the organization. For example, will it offer resolutions to fix an issue or create change, empower you into an employee that can create higher productivity and performance levels.  

-Develop solutions for how you can make it a reality. For example, maybe you are an accountant who wants to improve your leadership and management skills. Offer a solution of a conference where you can gain valuable leadership skills and learnings and additionally earn those CPE credits to maintain your CPA.  It is a win win.

  1.     Set your emotions aside. Advocating for yourself should not be a major component of how you feel. Your discussion should address results from what you are seeking, how it will help the organization reach their goals and be beneficial. Don’t go in saying, I want to attend this conference because I feel it will make me a better leader. Go in saying, this conference is a great avenue to improve my leadership skills to prepare me for the next management position and create better collaborations for my team. In addition, I can complete my needed CPE credits and network our organization at the conference.
  1.     Never undersell yourself when you are advocating for what you want. Do not be worried about being rejected or turned down and then dilute your requests. For example, don’t say, ok I know this conference is expensive, so maybe you are right and I should do something online. Instead, place a positive spin that the investment will be worthwhile and what results will come from it.
  1.     Be specific and create deadlines and accountability. It is important that all parties are effectively communicating what is expected, results with clear actionable deadlines to get there.  This will turn your goal into a plan and be easier to advocate to all parties involved.
  1.     Still take charge of you if you get rejected/denied. Do not close your mindset to I tried and failed so now what? Take actionable steps toward other solutions. For example, if you want to learn a new skill and the budget was not there when you asked, search for more affordable solutions, online courses or podcasts as alternatives. Ask to shadow someone who could mentor you in the meantime.

Remember, the only best advocate for you, is YOU.  While advocating for yourself, it often places you out of comfort zones and fear of rejection. Then we climb back into our comfort zones and do not advocate. Instead, place the mindset that it shows  the world that you are confident, brave and self-aware of your goals, visions and wanting to create the success you deserve.