Most of us have been a victim of microaggression. Similarly, many of us have knowingly or unknowingly said or done such things.
However, we should understand that microaggression in workplace is harmful. Not only will it bring down the performance of any employee.
What is Workplace Microaggression?
Workplace microaggressions are the every day invalidation and put downs.
It is the daily verbal or nonverbal snubs that can hurt the recipient.
Whether it is in you intent to look down on someone or not but it might look that way.
It is the daily remarks and comments that someone might make on the base of the color of your skin or your hair.
Most of the times, the workplace microaggression is targeted towards your race.
However, it can be based on your gender, weight, religion and so on. Their intents aren’t necessarily negative but the recipients might perceive it that way.
The more that we give people the chance to use such words and action the more it can make the workplace worse.
As the workplaces have become more and more inclusive, microaggression should be avoided as much as possible.
Most of the times the person who shows such verbal or behavioural message don’t have any intent to.
Nonetheless, we should understand that these behaviours aren’t acceptable and have a long term consequence.
People from marginalized groups have to deal with such microaggression on a daily basis.
In the workplace it is important that people understand the issue.
Whether it is intentional or not they carry derogatory messages that might discourage the recipient.
How does Workplace Microaggression Affect Productivity?
Most of the times the comments that the person receives are humiliating.
This obviously will make an impact on the person’s willingness to work.
It is not at all welcoming to work in a place where people constantly draw judgments based on your race or ethnicity or sexual orientation.
It is like someone is putting you in a box in their mind. Many times, people will draw conclusions based on these judgments.
But it is draining from the end of a receiver. You can never work effectively when you receive such microaggressive remarks.
Spotting Microaggression at Workplace
There are various statements that people make. These statements are difficult to characterize.
But if you see the following behaviours, it is most probably the case of microaggression:
- Gender based stereotypical remarks.
- Judgemental remarks on someone’s race or background.
- Assumptions based on someone’s intelligence.
- Premade assumptions on someone’s taste in music, food or drinks.
- Constantly making remarks on someone’s tone of voice or asking them to smile more.
- Telling a coworker how to dress or walk.
- Assumptions and remarks towards older employees.
Whenever you feel like these things are happening in the workplace, it is important that we let them know that it is wrong.
Working in an office where you are constantly nagged is difficult.
So, a person who is on the receiving end or someone who sees it can approach it.
How does it Impact Your Mental Health and Well Being?
People enter into a workplace with certain qualification.
People are hired because they are capable of working in that position.
But when someone else is continually making remarks on your work based of their preconceived notion about you, it can be disheartening.
Research has proven that microaggression severely impacts mental health.
It increases the chances of depression and and anxiety.
There also have been association with microaggression and heart attacks.
People who are on the receiving end of such remarks have more chances of having a weak mental health.
Microaggression can make someone feel like a second class citizen.
When someone goes through this research has proven that they might develop mental health symptoms.
How to Fight Back and What Can be Done?
Perhaps the most important thing to learn about workplace microaggression is learning how to stop it.
There are steps that you can follow to stop these behaviours.
- When you feel that someone is showing such behaviour, stop and analyse.
- Make sure that it was offensive and wrong.
- Confront the person in a way that is not too disheartening. Address the issue so that your relationship at work is not at stake.
- Ask what they have to say about this experience.
- Understand their point of view.
- Let them know your perspective and why it is wrong.