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How to Tailor Your Self-Advocacy for Success

Have you ever crafted the perfect pitch for a raise or promotion, only to be met with a lukewarm response from your manager? It can be frustrating, leaving you wondering what went wrong. The answer might lie in understanding your manager’s perspective and tailoring your self-advocacy accordingly.

Here are some key principles to consider when advocating for yourself:

  • Understanding Management Styles:  Managers have different leadership styles. The Directive Leader is usually decisive, and prefers clear, concise communication; and so it makes sense that when advocating for yourself to focus on facts, figures, and concrete results. Avoid beating around the bush and get straight to the point. The Collaborative Leader values input and teamwork; when approaching them, present your case as a means to benefit the entire team. The Visionary Leader is inspired by big-picture goals and innovation, and so framing your request within the context of the company’s vision is crucial. These are of course just general categories, and most managers exhibit a blend of styles.  Pay close attention to their communication style, decision-making process, and how they interact with team members. 
  • The Framing Effect:  How you frame your request can significantly impact its outcome. Imagine you’re asking for a raise. You could say, “I deserve a raise because I’ve been working hard.” This is a valid statement, but it doesn’t necessarily highlight the value you bring to the company. Instead of simply stating your effort,  frame your request around the results you’ve achieved. “Since implementing the new marketing strategy, I’ve increased sales by 15%. A raise would allow me to continue contributing to this success.” This quantifies your value and positions you as an asset. Ideally, we’re highlighting how your promotion or raise will contribute to the organization’s goals and success.
  • The Power of Reciprocity:  People are more likely to help those who help them.  Before advocating for yourself, consider ways you can support your manager’s initiatives or workload. Look for opportunities to support your manager and their goals.  Offer to take on additional tasks that align with their priorities, volunteer to help with a challenging project, or share your expertise to solve a problem they’re facing.

Crafting Your Message:

Now that we understand the underlying psychology, let’s get tactical:

  • Do Your Research: Gather data on industry standards for your position and experience level. Equip yourself with salary benchmarks and evidence of your accomplishments to strengthen your case for a raise.
  • Focus on Solutions, Not Just Problems: Don’t just list your needs. Present a well-defined plan outlining how your promotion or raise will benefit the company. Be prepared to discuss how you’ll handle additional responsibilities or contribute to achieving specific goals.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Rehearse your pitch beforehand. Anticipate potential questions and craft clear, concise responses. The more confident and prepared you appear, the more persuasive your message will be.

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