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Brain circuits

How to be an ally

Published 21 June 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Everyone wants to be an ally, especially during the pride month. Still, allyship is commitment. Here are five behaviours of a great ally.

Listen to understand. You may be completely supportive of LGBTQ+ issues. But it’s a step change to understand deeply the issues people in this group may face on a daily basis. A great ally takes time to understand the discrimination and violence that their friends or colleagues may face in their lives. In fact, you can be that secure base for the vulnerable group. Offer to listen without judgement.

Don’t make assumptions on someone’s personal life. One of the things LGBTQ+ are often confronted with particularly when starting a new job is questions about their personal life. These questions are normal to get to know someone. But don’t assume the status of someone’s partner. As innocent as questions about a person’s wife/husband may lead to a framing that’s difficult for someone to feel they can be themselves.

Be a sponsor. If you could, be a sponsor. Invite the marginalized into your professional circles. Give opportunities available. A lot of networking and collaboration happens outside of formal work. You can make a difference by being inclusive beside the office environment.

Widen your inclusion circle. As a corporate leader, you can also raise the bar in creating an inclusive environment. Enquire the practices of your vendors, contractors and suppliers. They need to feel the pressure from their customers.

Show up all year. Pride month is approaching an end. And yet, moments that needs allies to step forward are always there. You can choose to be visible not only during June, but all year round.



Howard Yu - IMD Professor

Howard H. Yu

LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD

Howard H Yu is the LEGO® Chair Professor of Management and Innovation at IMD and the Director of IMD’s Center for Future Readiness. He is the author of the award-winning book LEAP: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied. Howard directs our Future Readiness Strategy and Business Growth Strategies programs.


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