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Be an Ally Yourself

Offering your help as an ally will pay off in the long run: your coworkers will be more supportive when you need help if they know they can count on you to return the favor.

Being an ally is far more useful than just as a way to get ahead. It’s a way to improve the general environment in your organization in the long run. It is possible to create a welcoming, supportive culture when enough people are on board with the concept. If you face problems tied to gender, consider checking in with your peers who are facing problems based on sexual orientation or race. Most organizations have a great deal of diversity now — though few are precisely welcoming of that diversity. It’s surprisingly rare to find a company culture that couldn’t improve, at least a little bit.

Invest your own time to acting as an ally. At the most basic level, that can mean calling out your coworkers on the problems you see — staying silent when someone makes a racist or homophobic comment can be seen as condoning that behavior. From there, though, take the time to ask how you can best help. Just as the allies you’re counting on need coaching because they have never experienced the situations you face on a daily basis, you may be lacking the experience to fully understand others’ situations.

There are options for a more wholesale approach to developing allies in your workplace if you can get management and leadership to see the need for better support networks. Organizations such as the Ada Initiative offer workshops and training. If those managers in charge of company culture or training can be convinced of the value of such a workshop, it can be worth bringing in that added help. A little additional awareness and training may be all it takes to get your company thinking proactively about the problems faced by individuals within the organization. You might even find yourself with some unexpected allies .

Improving a company’s culture — and advancing your own career at the same time — requires hard work. With the help of allies, though, you may make progress a little faster.

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