Mental Health

Examples of Microaggressions to Avoid in the Workplace

Microaggressions are subtle, often unconscious moments of discrimination or prejudice directed at individuals based on factors like gender, race, sexual orientation, or other aspects of identity. Although often unintentional, these moments can impact the mental health and well-being of those affected. They’re also antithetical to the inclusivity and workplace diversity most modern businesses seek to foster. In the workplace, microaggressions can manifest as anything from dismissive comments and exclusionary behavior to backhanded compliments and tone policing. The first step to addressing these issues is understanding them. So in the paragraphs below, we’ve developed seven examples of microaggressions that are common in the workplace. 

Examples of Workplace Microaggressions and How to Reduce Them

“I’m pretty OCD about this”

When you make flippant statements like this, you trivialize a condition that many people suffer greatly from. OCD is about far more than liking things to be orderly and symmetrical, and sufferers can end up withdrawing from the world, fearful of leaving their homes. Those who are able to be functional often still feel like they’re suffering from an invisible disability as no one can see the internal struggles they go through, but they certainly have an impact on their quality of life. So, avoid using mental illnesses as jokes or lighthearted descriptors in the workplace. 

Read Also:- How to Improve Mental Health: Top Strategies and Tips

“But where are you really from?”

There’s nothing wrong with asking coworkers where they hail from – this is a standard small-talk question, after all. However, you should avoid prodding people about their ethnicity if you don’t think they fit the answer they’ve given you. You may be curious about someone’s background, but will be knowing the answer help either of you do your job? If the answer is “no,” then there’s really no need to ask. 

“When are you having kids?” 

Many people nowadays are childfree by choice. Others have gone through deep trauma related to childbearing. Asking a question like this can at best annoy people. At worst, you could trigger a trauma response, which no one wants to have to go through at work. 

“Why are you so quiet?” 

The bane of every introvert’s existence, this phrase suggests that there’s something wrong with being quiet; that there isn’t room for a range of communication styles in your workplace. It can also come across as insensitive to people with conditions like autism and others who come from cultures that may not be as boisterous as the dominant culture where you live. 

“I never would have known you’re transgender”

Many people assume this is a compliment. However, it assumes that transgender people don’t want to look transgender. It also implies that looking transgender would be a bad thing. While most people would understand that you meant well with such a statement, it’s still best to avoid commenting on a person’s appearance at work unless they specifically ask you. 

Read Also:- Preparing Teens With Mental Health Issues for College

Disapproving looks

Microaggressions are about more than just words. You can make someone feel incredibly uncomfortable and unwelcome at work if you’re regularly giving them disapproving looks. In the course of your career, you’re bound to meet colleagues and customers who live lifestyles far different from yours. However, instead of silently judging them, it’s crucial to keep an open mind and treat them with respect, regardless of your personal opinions.

Talking over quieter colleagues

Whether you do this or allow it to happen as a manager, you can create problematic rifts within your team. When women and people with quieter voices are interrupted by louder people, it sends the message that what they have to say doesn’t matter.  

By understanding these microaggressions and what’s problematic about them, you’ve taken a positive step toward being more inclusive and sensitive in the workplace.  

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button