Monday, November 4, 2013

Are You A Good Advocate?

As a team leader you often have to be an advocate and speak on behalf of another person or group of people. Do you analyze how good you are at communicating the needs and expectations of yourself or others? An advocate is someone who supports another person either by speaking on their behalf, or by helping them to communicate their own thoughts, feelings or ideas. Advocates need to have inter-personnel skills, be effective communicators and negotiators; be able to understand and implement the balance required between listening to people and talking; and between advising a course of action and allowing individuals to discover their own solutions to the issues that they need to address. Advocates must also be sensitive, diplomatic, and use discretion with individuals and their team. Successful advocacy therefore contains elements of both mentoring and coaching. Indeed, as team leaders this is one of our key responsibilities if we want our teams to remain positive and function well.Whilst we can often be a good advocate for another person, we also need to be able to practice self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is our ability to effectively communicate, argue and assert our needs, rights and best interests. In order to be effective self-advocates we need to have self-knowledge and honestly identify our strengths and weaknesses, rights and responsibilities and our needs and aspirations. As individuals this skill will help us to make informed decisions and also take full responsibility for those decisions. Do you have the skills to be a good advocate?

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