Don’t Get Passed Over – How to Communicate Your Disability Needs at Work
As a worker with a disability, it’s important to effectively communicate your needs in order to succeed. It’s unrealistic to expect your coworkers or managers to recognize them. If you’re not effective in communicating your needs, you can put yourself at risk of being passed over for promotions and other opportunities. In other words, one of your life skills needs to include the ability to advocate for yourself as a worker with a disability.
If you’re not communicating your needs and accommodations, your employer and colleagues may not be aware of your specific requirements and challenges. In turn, they won’t be able to provide the support and assistance that you need. This could limit your effectiveness and result in being underappreciated, or worse, considered incompetent. Of course, this can prevent you from achieving your goals and aspirations, and from contributing your skills and talents to your full potential.
In addition, poorly communicating your needs can also lead to frustration and burnout. When your needs are not met and accommodated, you may feel stressed and overwhelmed. If this leads to burnout and disengagement, it can impact your overall well-being and mental health.
To avoid these risks and improve your career opportunities, it’s important to effectively communicate your needs and to advocate for yourself as a disabled worker. This means identifying your core needs and accommodations and communicating them clearly and openly with your employer. It’s also an opportunity to educate and inform others about disability inclusion and equity. These are all parts of successfully advocating for yourself.
Here are 3 tips to effectively communicate your needs:
- Identify your needs and accommodations. To effectively communicate your needs to your employer or manager, you need to know what they are. You can start by listing the challenges and obstacles that you face as a result of your disability, and identifying the support and assistance that you need to overcome these challenges. By writing down your needs and accommodations, you can provide your employer or manager with specific and detailed information about what you need to succeed.
- Communicate your needs clearly and openly. Now that you have your list, it’s important to communicate your needs clearly and openly. To increase the chances of cooperation, do not assume that your needs are obvious, or that any past lack of accommodation was intentional. Communicating openly should have started during the hiring process. But open communication is most valuable when it is provided in regular updates and with feedback on your progress and challenges. By communicating your needs clearly and openly, you can ensure that your employer or manager is aware of your specific challenges. This gives them the ability to provide you with the support and assistance that you need.
- Educate others about disability inclusion. While communicating your needs includes to your employer, it’s also important to educate your coworkers about disability inclusion and equity. Again, not all failures of accommodation are intentional. By sharing your knowledge and experiences with everyone in your workplace, you can help them make more informed decisions. This knowledge, in turn, can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable workplace for other workers with disabilities.
By effectively communicating your needs and advocating for yourself, you can avoid the risks of being passed over and neglected, and improve your job and career opportunities. In addition, you can support your own well-being and success and enhance the overall performance and success of your organization. Effectively communicating your needs and advocating for yourself is essential for your well-being and for achieving your goals and objectives.