How Positive Role Models Can Make a Difference

Today is International Men’s Day and the theme this year is Positive Male Role Models

In my book ‘Closing the Gap – 5 Steps to Creating an Inclusive Workplace Culture’ I talk about the importance of Male Ambassadors in championing and supporting a diverse organisation and becoming an ally to others.

An ally is someone interested in advocating for the rights of others, someone who wants to support and improve the outcomes for those who are perhaps in the minority within the workplace or underrepresented within certain roles.

There are four key areas that LEAD to allyship:

Look and Listen – An ally will observe what is going on around them. They will tune into the interactions between staff, managers and colleagues. They will also listen to what is being said or what’s not being said. They will be aware of the tone of the conversation and the language used.

Educate – Steven Covey talks about ‘seek first to understand and then to be understood’. One of the key strengths of an ally is their desire to understand others, so they educate, explore and ask questions in an effort to understand how they can help others.

Action – A good ally doesn’t stand in the shadows. They show their support through their actions.  They will be unafraid to confront unacceptable behaviour or comments.  They will notice and act upon a lack of representation in the room or challenge systems and procedures that serve as barriers to progress.

Determination – Allyship is a continuous journey. An ally will keep on learning, in work and in life.  You can’t always be right but you can always be learning.

Role models don’t come in the form of a job title, or only appear at a certain hierarchy within your organisation. Inspirational role models are around us every day. Whether it’s someone who has shown considerable strength and tenacity whilst battling with an illness or living with a disability, or a historical icon who changed society and made a difference in the world.

Equally, a role model could be somebody who quietly does the thing that they’re passionate about day in day out. Neither seeking glory, nor recognition, just wanting to make a difference.

So today let’s have a shout out for all those male positive role models. To our sons, brothers, husbands, partners, uncles, grandfathers, cousins, friends, colleagues and neighbours.  To all those in schools, in organisations large and small and to those out there doing their best in their community.

I thank you for taking the LEAD and for your desire to support and improve the outcomes for those who need an ally to support them and speak up for them.