Advocacy is speaking up for what you want or need. It means asking for help, especially when you are not getting what you want or need. Most of us have experienced obstacles when we’re engaged in advocacy. Obstacles can include a lack of information, isolation, and emotions.
Today’s advocacy obstacle is recognizing and strategizing Pit Bulls and Bullies. Pit Bulls are aggressive, forceful people. Pit Bulls have strong opinions about what people should do and strong needs to prove that their views of the world are right. Pit Bulls are impatient, quick tempered and believe they are right. How do you work with a Pit Bull and Bullies? Do not argue or attack. Do not demean the Pit Bull or their position. If you let the Pit Bull push you around, they can become a bully. At the same time, if you stand up to the Pit Bull you can win them over as a friend. Pit Bulls want respect from people whom they view as strong. So respect them and their position and then express your views or perceptions about the issue. Be prepared with factual information as well as your personal experiences.
When you analyze, plan, prepare, and put your brain in charge of your emotions, you can be a more respectful and effective advocate.
“Respectfully challenging the status quo, combined with relentlessly reiterating new ideas is the hallmark of the vibrant tribe.” (Seth Godin)
PS: As you read these personality styles, you may recognize styles you have engaged in. If you follow along with this series on advocacy, you will be given tools to become a more effective advocate.
Resource: Pam Wright and Pete Wright. From Emotions to Advocacy (this resource addresses school based advocacy but applies to most settings where you may need to engage in advocacy) http://www.wrightslaw.com/