What to Do When Your Boss Won’t Advocate for You

By Harvard Business Review
August 3, 2018

Take these steps when your supervisor won’t help you advance your career.

Having a boss who doesn’t advocate for you might not be your fault, but it is your problem. You owe it to yourself to find a workable strategy. Here are three steps you can take when your boss shows no interest in helping you achieve.

Release your boss from your unmet expectations for advocacy. There are countless possible reasons why your boss isn’t advocating for you. He might see you as competition. He may suffer from deep unconscious biases. Perhaps he is trying to advocate for you but lacks the social capital to successfully do so. Whatever the reason, shaming him into being your advocate won’t work.

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Find another advocate. Your boss isn’t the only person in the organization who can advocate for you. There are other influencers who can give you the boost you need. The ideal sponsor is a powerful, high-ranking ally within your organization who will bring up your name with the right people at the right time so that you gain access to opportunity. Sponsors typically choose their protégés. So, you’ll want to strategically increase your visibility to gain their interest instead of explicitly soliciting their advocacy: Produce consistently excellent work, raise your hand to participate in cross-functional teams and interact with new people.

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Build your network inside and outside of the organization. Don’t underestimate the value of your peers in bringing your name up and speaking well of you. Doing the right thing by people can cause them to want to advocate on your behalf. Finally, being an engaged citizen beyond your workplace can help as well. You never know who is connected to whom and how.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Career Planning

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