Do you walk the talk?
A message from an ally-in-training.
Harvard Business Review recently conducted an investigation into what being a “good ally” really means to a member of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s one thing to describe yourself as an ally of the community. It’s another to take the time to make sure your words and actions are actually helpful—not harmful.
The HBR project identified three ingredients to being a good ally.
Acceptance means you genuinely affirm and validate your LGBTQ+ friends, family, and coworkers. What I found most interesting about this piece was that the research found that even if you take action in support of the LGBTQ+ community, it signifies little if it isn’t accompanied by acceptance. It’s important to convey acceptance and validation to indicate true allyship.
“Taking action starts with the self,” according to the report. I love that. It’s one thing (a big thing) to stand up for others, but this is a great reminder that education, awareness, and listening are key actions as well, and vital to self-improvement. Take action by confronting your biases.
My favourite discovery from this component? An ally taking real and concise action actually increases the wellbeing of a LGBTQ+ individual.
This one surprised me, but as I explored this component of allyship, it made so much sense. Humility requires asking yourself, “Am I really listening, or am I focused on creating an impression of allyship?” When LGBTQ+ inclusion is on the table, if you’re not part of the community, the conversation cannot be about you. Now is the time to listen and learn.
WHAT CAN AN EMPLOYER DO?
· Encourage an atmosphere of acceptance, action, and humility. Consider hosting an educational seminar on inclusion.
· Be attentive of the language you use as a leader and double check to make sure it’s kind, inclusive, and free of bias.
· Be open to learning—and be accountable if you make a mistake. Apologize, and learn how you can do better in the future.
As an ally-in-training, I want to re-examine how I incorporate acceptance, action, and humility into my life. These three foundational pieces will be integral as I work to cultivate an inclusive, safe, and happy workspace for my entire team.