How Leaders Can Be Effective Advocates in 2019

Leaders in both the private and public sectors face an incredibly complex advocacy environment in 2019.

Being heard through the cluttered conversation and fast-paced news cycles has never been more challenging. Adding to the complexity, we live in a time where leaders, both corporate and political, are increasingly scrutinized for doing either too much or too little – or both.

Leaders can be more effective advocates for their company, employees, shareholders, stakeholders, or constituents by considering several key approaches to be mindful of in 2019.

Employ empathy.  When advocating, whether for business purposes, societal change, or policy, a leader not only needs to hear directly from those affected, but also to understand them. One cannot overstate the personal touch in advocacy.

Work together. Rather than go at it alone in this complex environment, consider a coalition-style approach. Partner with likeminded allies seeking the same end goal. The chorus of voices will help elevate your objective and diversify the conversation.

Leverage experience.  Leaders often shift the focus to others.  While that is important, it is equally necessary to leverage your own strengths and strategically bring them to the table in your advocacy strategies. Don’t forget the attributes that made you the leader you are today.

Highlight passion.  Whether through your own voice or by partnering with others, expressing passion for your cause will help you cut through the noise. Combine your passion with credible evidence and you’ll rise above the cluttered conversation with a powerful and personal story that has passion behind it.

Think opposition. While it is incredibly important to think about your advocacy strategy, it’s essential to remember that advocacy is not solitaire. Be sure to think about your opposition and how they will react to your strategies and plan accordingly.