What is Allyship? (Part 2 of 2)
What is Allyship? (Part 2 of 2)

Allyship: Part Two

In my last post, I introduced the concept of allyship. Being an ally means using one’s privilege to act, and not merely saying the right things.


Allyship Can be Hard

allyshipAuthentic allyship takes courage. To be a true ally requires doing the “inner work” of understanding how you participate in unjust or oppressive systems. Maybe in the past, you have passively and unintentionally benefited when policies and practices gave you unfair advantages over other people who were equally or better qualified.

To be an ally, it’s important to learn how to listen and accept criticism, even if it’s uncomfortable. Don’t expect to be taught or shown everything. Use tools around you to learn and answer your questions (e.g., this list of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism resources)


Concrete Ways to be an Ally

Speak up for the underrepresented. Understandably, someone who might be the “only”  or part of a small minority in his or her workplace may not feel comfortable raising issues. They can have very real concerns about backlash or jeopardizing their professional relationships and even their job.

Become a mentor or sponsor and support the career growth of someone from an under-represented community. A mentor is someone who provides advice while acting as a sponsor takes it to the next level by being actively involved in aiding someone’s career development and /or progression. Not only is growing diversity the right thing to do, but there’s also a very real business case for recruiting as diverse a team as possible. Studies make it clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better: companies in the top quartile for gender diversity outperform their competitors by 15% and those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by 35%.

how to be an allyIf you have influence over hiring, look for alternative recruitment methods. There are organizations that advocate for underrepresented people when it comes to recruitment.

If it’s the right thing to do and it makes very real business sense, then allyship should involve everyone, not just underrepresented people and groups.


Authentic Allyship:  Do’s and Don’ts

  • Allyship can be messy. Don’t expect it to be easy. There may be some hard lessons to be learned. In many instances, those who seek to be allies drop out when things get a little uncomfortable.
  • Don’t compare your struggle as being just as bad. We all have struggles, yes, but to be an ally one has to put his or her own struggles aside.
  • Don’t take on allyship for the wrong reasons. It may be tempting to try to prove you’re one of the “good” white people. But remember, heroes don’t call themselves heroes. Take a look at your motives for wanting to be an ally. If it’s for praise, allyship probably isn’t for you.
  • Do understand the difference between allyship and virtue signalling. Virtue signalling is showing other people that you are a good person by expressing disgust or favour over social media for certain political ideas or cultural happenings — but virtue signalling isn’t allyship.


ideas about allyship


Allies can make a difference. Whether we’re talking about BIPOC, LGBTQ or people with disabilities, allies can use their privileged positions to call in or call out the inappropriate and the unfair. Allies can amplify the voices of people who don’t have the same privilege. In this way, allies can support, encourage, and argue for change.


To demonstrate allyship is to use one’s privilege to act.



Are you ready to go beyond writing a statement or setting up a Diversity and Inclusion Committee or Task Force? Or are you an employee who is seeking a more inclusive workplace? Dr. Helen’s training in Work and Business Psychology (officially known as Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology) means she is a genuine expert in evaluating work-related behaviours. She uses those skills to help hiring managers tell the difference between people who say the right things during interviews and people who actually deliver on the job. Plus, she knows how to do it inclusively.

Reach out today for a free and confidential initial consultation by phoneemail, or via direct message on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.


More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.


I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.™


Please share this article using any of the social media icons below.

Latest Posts

How to Stand Out in an Interview: Part One

How to Stand Out in an Interview: Part One

The interview is going so well. Your answers are flowing naturally; you feel like you’re nailing it; the job is yours for sure. You feel it starting to wind down, and you know what’s coming next. “Why should we hire you? Why do you think you’re the best candidate for this job?”

What’s Your Leadership Style? Part Two

What’s Your Leadership Style? Part Two

In Part One of this two-part series, we looked at Autocratic and its opposite approach, Democratic/Participative leadership styles. This time, in Part Two I’ll describe Transformational, Delegative and Transactional leadership styles.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Part One

What’s Your Leadership Style? Part One

When it comes to leadership styles, which one is right for you? Each style has its own benefits and drawbacks, so if you’re in a position of leadership it’s important to figure out which one will work best for you and your organization or business.

Changing Jobs? Avoid These Interview Red Flags

Changing Jobs? Avoid These Interview Red Flags

With the Turnover Tsunami or the Great Resignation creating an employee-driven job market, employers in all sectors are facing a challenge in identifying and attracting qualified new candidates. Despite the challenge, it doesn’t mean employers want to lower their standards. Just because candidates may be harder to find, it doesn’t mean you’re the only viable candidate. In this blog, Dr. Helen identifies some red flags that job candidates should avoid displaying – even in a tight labour market.