“Strong performers should expect their bosses to advocate for them and help them up the ladder.”
Former vice chairman of Procter & Gamble
A job advocate is someone who will campaign on your behalf, champion your cause, and help improve others’ perception of you. Think about who might be willing to speak up on your behalf and tell people what a great job you are doing. Your boss is an obvious choice since he or she looks good when you do, but other employees can be great advocates as well.
You might be thinking why do I need someone to advocate for me in the first place? Having an advocate can be an influential move to increase your value and help you up the company ladder. A job advocate voices your strong points and supports your cause, essentially perking up your reputation and making you look good in front of others. If you’re updating your resume to ask for a promotion, having an advocate to put in a positive word for you can help immensely.
So how exactly do you find an advocate?
You might be surprised at how easy it can be to find someone who will advocate for you. Many times, all you have to do is ask. Most people just don’t bother asking. Usually people won’t do or say anything unless you request them that you need this from them.
Anyone working above you can be your job advocate. This includes your senior colleagues, your boss’s boss, and of course your immediate boss. This group is ideal because they speak from a place of authority and their opinions carry significant weight in the organization.
Most people think that only people with higher authority and position can speak for you but you’ll be surprised that the opinions of people working below you or alongside you can matter as well. Your subordinates are not really expected to speak on your behalf so when they do it helps enhance your reputation. Your co-workers and peers don’t really have an incentive to shout out your praises, so when they do, it makes a positive impact.
In fact, even clients, suppliers, and vendors can help make a solid impression on others when they speak about you. Remember, one advocate is good, but two or three are even better!
Also, remember to return the favor. Advocate for star employees below you, peers you work with, and deserving colleagues when they ask.
For more strategies to help you increase your visibility and take your career to the next level, read my new book, Getting Ahead, which is available now from Amazon.com.