Have you ever stopped and remembered a time in the workplace when you had someone in your corner cheering on your success? That’s allyship.

The definition of allyship refers to the actions, behaviors and practices that leaders take to support, ampl ify and advocate for others, especially individuals who do not belong to the same social identity groups as themselves.

I remember early in my career I surrounded myself with people who I considered to be successful. I spent hours observing the things that made them the best at what they did. I worked in operations, so that involved budgeting, scheduling, inventory controls, delegating, and, most importantly, how they gained buy-in from their teams. It was in all these lessons that I picked up some of the absolute best workplace practices and added my own twist. The best part of my journey was always having someone looking out for me, these were my allies.

Allies are essential in fostering a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion and mutual support. As laid out by Harvard Business Review, here are some ways to practice active allyship in the workplace:

  1. Deep Curiosity — this represents the persistent desire to explore, understand and learn about diverse topics. Get to know your colleagues and team members. Be present, ask questions and practice active listening.
  2. Honest Introspection — this involves examining one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions without bias or self-deception. This is where unconscious biases can creep into the equation. A good question to ask yourself is what your view of successful people in the workplace may look like.
  3. Humble Acknowledgement — everyone has different life experiences, so it is perfectly fine to admit that you do not know. Avoid comparisons and listen with the intention of being supportive. Just because you do not find something a problem does not mean it is not a problem for others.
  4. Empathetic Engagement — the ability to connect emotionally with others by sharing and understanding feelings. Emotional Intelligence is managing your emotions and demonstrating the ability to influence the emotions of others in a positive manner. Be the person that can be relied on when needed for emotional support.
  5. Authentic Conversations — I love this one because it involves being a safe place as an ally. You are there for open and honest conversations without judgment or fear of humiliation. This involves the act of building trust on both sides. A great allyship may involve critical feedback with sincere dialogue and intentions.
  6. Vulnerable Interactions — do not be afraid to share a bit of your own feelings. This is where you will help build those meaningful connections. In my experience as a mentor through the years, this has helped me build trust with my mentees. Sharing firsthand experiences has been a gateway to lasting connections that have meant so much to me.
  7. Courageous Responsibilities — this is where you act and become that, an ally. Look around and take the steps to include and amplify the voices of those around you.

Now, you could be asking yourself, what can I do today? Be observant and become an advocate for those around you who may desire support. It is all about listening, leaving your biases at the door, recognizing that we are all different, emotionally connecting to others, being a safe place for someone to share feelings, sharing your own feelings, and acting in a positive manner on behalf of others.