Hospitalized for incapacitating pain from shingles and in isolation for being COVID positive, Renee felt she was on an island. The continuous pain and medication had her in a fog. She lost track of days and remembers nothing from medical staff visits.

“Thankfully I had my sister advocating for me. She engaged the staff via phone to stay apprised of my progress. She also related my previous medical issues to them, assisting in my care. I would not have progressed as quickly without her.”

Advocates speak on our behalf, represent, support us, and present our views when we cannot.

We could all benefit from someone like Renee’s sister in our professional lives. When and how should we act like Renee’s sister in the professional realm.

Professional Advocacy

When I refer to professional advocacy, I am not referring to employees advocating for their company’s brand. I am referring to a leader advocating for an individual group, or team.

Who is advocating for you? In every organization there are conversations constantly going on about us, that we are not involved in. Leaders, supervisors, and managers are in a continuous cycle of measuring organizational performance. Which means they are measuring our performance. You are part of those discussions.

In your leadership role, how often are you talking about individuals, their performance, and your plans for them?

All the time.

When someone is in the room advocating for a person, how does that change the conversation? Think of the last meeting you participated in where a person was advocating for another. What was the impact.

  • How did it confirm or eliminate assumption?
  • How did it change the opinion of the people in the room?
  • How did the someone gain or lose an advantage?

Advocacy is another person expressing your views, wishes, rights, or preferences. We all could benefit from an advocate, ensuring our concerns, performance, and preferences are accurately represented.

Here are a couple of essential questions:

  • Who is advocating for you and why?
  • What do you need to do to ensure they advocate as you want them to?

The Personal Perspective

Think of the team you lead and consider the two essential questions.

Who are you advocating for and why?

I think a better question may be, how well are you advocating for each team member and why?

Each team member is on a different career path and has different needs. Do you know each member well enough to advocate well for them?

This leads into the second essential question.

What do you need to know from each team member to advocate for them? In today’s workplace, there have been a lot of changes. Some folks want to be supported in creating a hybrid work schedule, working part time in the office and part time at home. Some are looking for promotions. Others, development and growth without a promotion.

How well are you representing them and their needs?

Advocacy is a powerful leadership tool when done correctly. It has the potential to build a strong and cohesive team.

Ever have a colleague share how another person advocated for you in a meeting? How did that feel?

How can you best represent those you lead and how can you ensure others accurately advocate for you?