There are many occasions on which we do not know how to react when someone answers us in a sullen way, bordering on rudeness. There are situations in which, even though there is no reason, we receive an aggressive response that crosses boundaries and becomes rude. They are surprising moments in which we are surprised by aggression and suddenly, we do not know how to react. I know, prudence calls for silence, for swallowing bad treatment, and for keeping the rules of courtesy. However, it seems to me that, in the face of aggression, rather than lowering our heads, we must talk, we must denounce, and put a remedy. Communication is the solution. Silence can be complacency and fertilizer which if remedied can become a nodal problem.
As a leader, you have a unique opportunity. The responsibility to be a role model in building an inclusive workplace. Of course, building a workspace in which kindness is deprived is difficult, especially when people are subjected to the crucible of everyday pressures. But, it's not impossible. The work environment is one of the assets that we must take care of with greater commitment.
This means recognizing and mitigating potential harmful behaviors in yourself and your team members. Education is not stolen, it’s inherited. Also, the temperament of each person is different and we have to live with different personalities and ways of being. However, there are incorrect ways to relate professionally, there are deals that are not suitable for a workplace that aims to be a space in which results are achieved. Faced with these behaviors that are not ideal, we must never look the other way, we must take the bull by the horns and set a posture. Here are some pertinent examples:
The good judge begins in its own terrain. The first person who should analyze their behavior is oneself. We must take charge of the way we relate to our team. If we interrupt the speaker, if we disqualify someone's opinion, if we appropriate someone else's ideas, if we draw attention to people, we are perpetrating acts of microaggression and we must recompose the path.
Another form of microaggression is the lack of care for one's own and others' time. An unpunctual person who arrives late to their meetings on a recurring basis, who has people waiting in a waiting room (virtual or physical), one who does not respect their agenda is someone who does not know how to take charge of their commitments. If a subordinate is consistently late or if a boss delays the work of others because of his unpunctuality, he is a microaggressor.
Also, when you ask for the job without considering what the task entails. When there is no order to request what is required and everything is ordered in sections or forced to work and rework.
Another example is people who, to shine, seek to diminish someone's experience or who dismiss efforts and seek to stifle and minimize dedication, care, passion, and results.
Not to mention, of course, stereotyping or using problematic language. Language is the tool with which we communicate, with which we transmit ideas and share sensations, therefore, we must take care of it. Many microaggressions are disguised as jokes, trustworthy treatment, or colloquial language that uses profane words that can damage the work relationship, the work environment, and the dignity of people.
While these behaviors are often unintentional, it is important to report them. Moreover, many times the microaggressor isn’t aware that their behavior may be overreaching. And since no one marks a stop, it continues to do so.
Therefore, when we are aware that someone is crossing the line, we must let them know. I understand that raising your voice is not always easy or preferred but there’s a saying which has full of popular wisdom: "Better one red than a thousand faded."
And yes, regardless of the hierarchy you must talk. I know that when it comes to a superior, the scenario can seem complicated. But, there is nothing that cannot be expressed. Because when someone swallows those aggressions, they accumulate. They become a pressure cooker that will eventually not last anymore and will end up exploding. Therefore, before acting angrily, it is best to prepare a good argument and speak. No matter who it is, there is no need to be silent. Perhaps, having a method can work:
First, it is convenient to make sure to pause and name what just happened. For example, you might say, "I just want to take a moment here. It's really important to focus on the language we use to describe people, and that's a problematic term."
The goal is to stop aggression, it's not about educating people or embarrassing them, because it's less likely to result in change.
It's important to follow up with the person after the incident to discuss privately and point them to useful learning resources, offering to continue the conversation if that helps.
The important thing is to understand that we are in a time of adding and not subtracting.
People with underrepresented identities continue to experience higher rates of stress, burnout, and burnout. This is due to several factors, including the many impacts of bias, microaggression, and marginalization at work.
As we rethink the future of work, leaders must incorporate new ways to build empathy and show themselves to their teams as allies and advocates. If we have the opportunity to use their influence to initiate positive change, we must do so. Overlooking these behaviors can be worse.