Ask for Exactly What You Need
Many of your allies won’t have experienced the problems you face. In fact, ideal allies are often the individuals with the most privileged outlook on life — the people who play life on “easy mode,” as John Scalzi puts it. Hopefully, they’re motivated to take action to improve your shared workplace without prompting. However, to get the help you really want, you may need to tell your allies exactly what you need them to do. You may even need to explain why you’re asking for a particular action.
When you have a specific problem you need to address, consider exactly which of your allies (or even potential allies) can best help you with the situation — and figure out exactly how you would like them to help. While having to do even more work towards dealing with an unfair situation can make the whole thing seem even worse, you’re the one with the lived experience. You have to take charge, even to the point of suggesting specific words or phrases your allies can use. Here are a few strategies you can start with:
Role play the problem: Working through a situation privately can help you and your allies ensure that you have a useful strategy. Doing so can also offer an opportunity for you to point out the issue in more detail.
Provide useful responses that your allies can use in the moment: During uncomfortable situations, many people freeze. Keeping quiet can seem like the best option. For your allies to help you, you need to provide alternatives.
Discuss how to fully use leadership positions or authority to support your efforts: If you’re able to connect with an ally in a position of authority, you may have more options available to you.
Assuming you’re working in an organization you want to stay in for the long-term, you may need to experiment with different strategies. As your allies grow more used to taking on specific problems, you may find new strategies you can try.