Being in a leadership position doesn’t necessarily mean serving as the spokesperson on all issues. This is especially true as it relates to matters of social justice.
It’s common for CEOs, for example, to confuse their position of authority in the business with needing to be the authority on social issues, both internally and externally.
The best leaders in this regard are those who, before leaping into public conversations, first create platforms for those on their team who can more authentically speak to the cause, experience, or movement (and who want to take on this role).
Leading through allyship often begins with erasing what you think you know about a particular issue and asking those on your team mindful, sincere questions—regardless of their seniority.
Asking such questions demands vulnerability, which often means it’s not the default form of leadership.
Leaders best equipped to publicly address such issues are those who:
1. routinely tap the collective wisdom of their team;
2. ensure cultures of inclusivity and respect are growing throughout the company; and,
3. continually find new ways to amplify the voices of those around them.
Leading like this from the back of the pack is the best way to know when you should take the microphone or hand it off to someone else.
Throughout history, leadership through allyship has been the key to creating genuine and sustainable social impact.