A workplace ally is someone who uses their power, position, or privilege to uplift others. This can take many forms, from speaking up when you see someone being treated unfairly to championing diversity and inclusion initiatives in your company.
Being an ally is not about taking on the burdens of others – it's about using your privilege to create a level playing field. It's about using your voice to speak up for those who are not being heard.
If you're looking to be a good workplace ally, start by listening. Listen to your colleagues, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Listen to understand their experiences and perspectives. Then use your voice – whether it's speaking up in a meeting or sharing an article on social media – to elevate their voices as well.
What are best practices for how to be an ally in the workplace?
It's also important to remember that being an ally isn't always easy. There will be times when it's uncomfortable, but it's important to remain active and consistent. Allyship is a journey, not a destination, and everyone has to start somewhere.
Being an ally in the workplace is more than just saying the right things or having progressive values. It's about taking action to support colleagues who experience discrimination and create a more inclusive environment for everyone. This can be anything from speaking up when you witness microaggressions to amplifying the voices of those who are underrepresented.
And if you're expecting a pat on the back for standing against racism or sexism, don't. This is not about you, and awaiting validation for doing the right thing is the opposite of being an ally. True allyship is valuing impact over attention!
Of course, it's not always easy to do the right thing, especially when it means going against the grain. But if you're only motivated by praise, then you're not an ally.
Instead, think about the people who will be helped by your actions. That's what being an ally is all about! When you focus on others instead of yourself, that's when true allyship happens.
Educate yourself and others
One of the most important things you can do as an ally is to continue educating yourself. Educate yourself on issues that affect marginalized groups, so that you can be a better ally. It's up to you to learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion; no one else can (or should) do that for you. And don't forget to share what you've learned with others! One person can make a difference, but we can change the world together.
Empathy is key to being an effective ally. It's important to try to see the world from the perspective of underprivileged groups and understand their experiences. Only then can we begin to make workplaces that are more inclusive and equitable for everyone. We all need to work together as allies to create lasting change.
It's not going to be easy, but it's worth it. We need to be patient and persistent, and most importantly, we need to listen. Only then can we hope to create a world that is truly inclusive and just for all.