From being mindful of coworkers’ egos to communicating confidently, here are the 16 answers to the question, “What are some helpful tips for practicing self-advocacy and speaking up in the workplace?”

READ ALSOArizona property taxes will see No. 3 greatest 5-year increase

READ ALSOHere’s the salary needed to buy a home in Phoenix

  • Be Mindful of Other Teammates’ Egos
  • Understand You’re An Asset
  • Everyone Deserves a Voice
  • Tune In to the Right Channel
  • Ask Questions With Boosted Confidence
  • Support Your Opinion by Referring to Employee Handbooks
  • Be Prepared
  • Ask for Help 
  • Ignore External Validation
  • Practice Beforehand
  • Use Less Emotion and More Metrics
  • Imagine You’re Advocating for Another
  • Improve Your Confidence
  • Prepare for Opposition
  • Fix Problems With Solutions
  • Be Confident and Assertive in Communication


Be Mindful of Other Teammates’ Egos 

Be assertive in your wishes, but do so in a way that doesn’t bruise the egos of the people around or above you in the chain of command within your company. 

Unfortunately, people can be fickle, workplace vendettas can form, and sometimes the promotion goes to the more popular candidate over the most qualified. But rather than let this depress you, simply use it to better understand the rules of the game you are playing. When people like you, they will do more for you.

Asker Ahmed, Director & Founder, iProcess


Understand You’re an Asset

Knowing your value is the best mindset for practicing self-advocacy in the workplace.

Your employer didn’t hire you out of the goodness of their heart. You’re bringing in more money than they are paying you, providing a return on investment. This return gives you negotiating power.

So when you’re in team meetings or need to bring up a serious issue, don’t doubt your abilities. Understanding the value you bring gives you the self-confidence to communicate effectively, assert your ideas, and negotiate promotions.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money


Everyone Deserves a Voice

It’s actually really common for employees to have a fear of speaking up in the workplace and advocating for themselves. You’re not alone in this! 

It stems from not feeling empowered to share your opinions, and being afraid of rejection. One tip I use to find the confidence for self-advocacy at work is to remind myself of all the times I hear my colleagues speak up. 

I’m more than happy to listen to and support my colleagues, so why wouldn’t they do the same for me? Of course they would! We all deserve a voice. Don’t hide yours.

Emily Neal, SEO & Content Specialist, DSMN8


Tune In to the Right Channel

Make sure you go through the proper channels. When advocating for yourself or speaking up at work, complaining to colleagues shouldn’t be your first resort. While it may feel good to vent, your words will eventually get back to management or HR. This will sour them ahead of the message you want to convey before getting the firsthand chance to hear it from you. 

Always determine the right person in the right office to speak to first when looking to practice self-advocacy or speaking up at work.

Temoer Terry, Partner, Mommy Care Kit


Ask Questions With Boosted Confidence

One tip for practicing self-advocacy and speaking up in the workplace is to be confident. You do not have to be super loud, but you need to be confident that what you are saying will make a difference. And if you feel like something needs to be said, then just do it.

Another thing I recommend is that you take time to think about how you will phrase your request—whether it’s a direct request or an open-ended question. That way, when you are making your request (or asking your question), you will already know what words to use, so it comes across as more persuasive and less threatening.

Nathan Hughes, Founder, Art Ignition


Support Your Opinion by Referring to Employee Handbooks

The employee handbook is the constitution that comprehensively defines operational policies in the workplace—essentially, what goes and what doesn’t.

Therefore, objectively backing your expressed opinions with accurate references from the employee handbook exponentially boosts the authority and credibility of your views.
This works well when speaking out for yourself to senior management. You want them to know the stipulations spelled out in the company’s constitution back your opinion.

Senior managers are bound to sustain the sacrosanctity of the employee handbook and will strive to avoid being the party violating it. Hence, they will diligently attend to your case and give you a bigger listening ear.

Also, supporting your views with the employee handbook emphasizes the objectivity of your opinions. In such cases, it becomes less of you advocating for yourself and more for the company’s health.

Lotus Felix, CEO, Lotusbrains Studio


Be Prepared

Being prepared is one tip for practicing self-advocacy and speaking up in the workplace. Before speaking up in the workplace, make sure you have done your research and have evidence to back up your position. 

Before entering a conversation or situation, consider the points you want to make and the outcome you want to achieve. It is also critical to hone your communication skills and ensure that your message is heard and understood. Using clear language, being direct, and using an appropriate tone are all examples of this.

Steve Harris, Founder, Daily Dog Stuff


Ask for Help

If you recognize the tendency to shy away from being vocal about your ideas, involve a trusted coworker in your journey and ask them to encourage you to speak up during key moments. 

This nudge will remind you to put your ideas out there and grow out of this innate tendency. If they can understand what drives you and motivates you during these crucial moments, it’s even more advantageous, as you will genuinely want to share your ideas with the rest of the workplace.

Larissa Pickens, Owner, Repeat Replay


Ignore External Validation

In my experience, self-advocacy begins with divesting from both positive and negative external validation. You must find validation and confidence from within instead of basing your sense of competence or success on outside feedback.

When you have self-belief, you are more aware of when someone is crossing a line. If you believe you are only as good as your boss says you are, you will let them disrespect you and walk all over you. You’ll feel amazing when you get praise, and totally devastated when you get criticized, even if it is fair.

So start tuning in to your own feelings and objectively look at your experiences—I bet there’s a lot of proof that you actually know what you’re talking about. When you feel discouraged, ask yourself why: is it because this person “doesn’t approve”, or is it truly because the work fell short? Most times, it’s the former, and you will feel better about advocating for your point of view.

Paul Kushner, CEO, My Bartender


Practice Beforehand

If you want to get better at speaking up and advocating for yourself at work, try preparing beforehand. This means taking a few minutes to think about what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. 

Think about the people you’ll be talking to and any potential communication barriers, like different communication styles. And don’t be afraid to practice out loud—it’ll make you feel more confident when it’s time to speak up. 

Just remember to be respectful and listen to others, too. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll be able to speak up and advocate for yourself more effectively.

Bryan Jones, CEO, Truckbase


Use Less Emotion and More Metrics

Keep things quantifiable and results-based. Rather than saying, “I’m overworked,” try saying something like, “I’m unable to drive the same results with X project while also working on Y and Z.” 

Focusing those conversations around business objectives will take some of the anxiety and awkwardness around trying to express emotions in the workplace. And it will be better received by your manager because they’ll be dealing with a problem that affects the business rather than something that affects you personally.

Karli Williamson, Career Coach, Guided Coaching


Imagine You’re Advocating for Another

So many people are great at supporting others, but really struggle with standing up for themselves. One thing which always works for me is to imagine I’m advocating for another, whether that’s a client, colleague, or friend. 

Doing this creates some distance between me and any potential problem, making it feel less personal, and giving me space to think. Taking a step back helps me view the situation accurately and respond appropriately. 

I’m a tenacious advocate for others and am dedicated to protecting their interests. So, I often ask myself, what would I say if I was speaking on behalf of someone I’m invested in? 

This enables me to ensure that my response is reasonable, measured, and effective. Depending on your personal inclination, it’s hard to balance getting overly defensive or letting bad behavior slide. My approach helps me evaluate from an objective viewpoint. If I wouldn’t accept something for another, then I won’t accept it for myself.

Martin Gasparian, Attorney & Owner, Maison Law


Improve Your Confidence

One of the best ways to practice self-advocacy is to work on improving your confidence.  People rarely speak up because they doubt their voice and what they have to say. 

You may be in a more junior position than your C-suite executives, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing valuable to offer. Nobody does everything perfectly, so believe in yourself and speak up for what you want!

Axel DeAngelis, Founder, Jumpcoast


Prepare for Opposition

Be prepared with solutions for every reason you think your boss might deny a request. For example, maybe your boss thinks you aren’t ready to take the lead on a project.
Show them why you are.

Highlight your best ideas or portions of the presentation that you’re prepared to present to a client. Putting in this kind of work in advance will show your employer that you’re committed and aware of everything that’s required when asking for an opportunity.

Kenneth Lin, CEO, BOOP Bakery

Fix Problems With Solutions

It’s helpful to practice identifying solutions rather than simply pointing out the problem. Advocating for yourself in the workplace involves taking ownership of your work and speaking up to ensure you have a voice in the decision-making process.

As a fifth-generation family business, we treat our employees as part of our extended family. So if you’re having a bad day, let’s talk about any suggestions you may have to make tomorrow a good day.

Marc Werner, CEO & Founder, GhostBed


Be Confident and Assertive in Communication

My top tip for practicing self-advocacy and speaking up in the workplace is to be confident and assertive in your communication. Make sure your voice is strong and you project an air of authority when speaking. 

Ensure that you are well informed on the issue you are discussing and remain professional and respectful when conversing with colleagues. Taking these steps will help you to effectively communicate your needs and ensure that you are heard in the workplace.

William Toro Quientero, Sports & Nutrition Editor, Welcyon