Three Important Values One Needs to Become an Advocate

By: Alicia Miller

To become an advocate, you need the ability to influence others. An advocate supports the interest, defends a cause, or pleads the case of another. In order to be successful as an advocate, it is important to hold principles and values close to you and develop your influence by those principles.

The three questions below speak to the values that can help you to develop your influence:

1. DO YOU EMPOWER PEOPLE?

Think about a person who advocates for you. Do they care about you? Of course…that is why you follow them and take their suggestions. If you had a mentor that didn’t care about you, how would their word or suggestion hold up?

People follow leaders who care. Who care about the cause, who care about the outcome, who care about the community that is affected, who care about the students that need support, who show they care in an authentic and real way.

In order to be an advocate you must care.

2. DO YOU WALK THE WALK OR TALK THE TALK?

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 360° Leader, he includes a quote by Thomas Paine that states,

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

Mr. Paine suggests that a leader is someone that not only holds principles but lives by them. 

How do you live by your principles?  Do you hold humility, integrity, faith, and belief close to you and follow those principles in your day-to-day affairs? If you talk about humility and practice it, people will trust you. They will trust your actions, your words, your suggestions; you will gain influence with trust.

In order to be an advocate you have to be trusted.

3. DO YOU STEP UP TO A CHALLENGE?

When I met with politicians as an advocate for emergency contraception, challenges arose daily. The Director of Development & Public Affairs at that time stepped up to the organization’s position on this controversial topic in a positive, steadfast way when addressing congressmen and senate members that made me want to follow her lead. Her character made me respect how she rose to the challenge and not only accepted it, but worked to change it, despite naysayers and the conflict that developed all around the topic. She remained true to her values.

Do you rise to the challenge?

It is one thing to work hard in a positive environment; it is another to actually succeed during both the good and the bad. That shows you are able to handle what is thrown at you with confidence and in most situations with the help of others, showcasing you as a competent worker, leader, advocate, and individual.

In order to be an advocate, you need to be competent.

To be an advocate you need to care, be trusted, and be competent to develop your influence. As Mr. Maxwell wrote,

If you want to be the kind of leader others want to follow...then plan to fight the good fight to be consistent so that you are approachable.
 

Alicia Miller has 16 years of experience leading corporate marketing, public relations and communications. She is a respected leader of marketing departments, internal teams, various committees, and non-profit boards of directors. She currently serves as the Marketing & Business Services Director for the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She is a member of the Mentorship York class of 2012.