As a manager, you have a responsibility to understand how microaggressions can negatively affect members of your team
You have a role in fostering a culture where everyone is included, and no-one is made to feel uncomfortable because of who they are.
Educate your team
People with hidden disabilities can be affected by microaggressions. Those making the hurtful comments do not always realise how much they would affect someone with a hidden disability. This can be hugely inhibiting for people to declare their disability on the work floor.
Your team will have varying levels of understanding about microaggressions and leaders can provide training on this.
In 2022, regional training was offered to every steward on recognising discrimination in the workplace. Tutored by CSP staff, this course took an in-depth look at areas such as equality law across the UK, case studies relating to discrimination and, crucially, how to recognise microaggressions.
Ask your CSP steward how they can bring their learning into the workplace and help to educate the team.
- CSP equity, diversity and belonging glossary
- CSP equality and diversity toolkit – Sections 1,2 and 7
Listen and reflect
You may find that a colleague tells you that you have said something that upsets them or that they find offensive.
Everyone makes mistakes. Listen and reflect. What did you say? Ask for clarification to understand the issue or impact. When you understand the issue, acknowledge, apologise and change your behaviour.
Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack is a useful read for understanding privilege.
Support team members
No one has an awareness [of microaggressions] and hence people don't realise they are acting this way.
Familiarise yourself with workplace policies that protect staff from discrimination. Don’t dismiss someone’s experience because it is not immediately apparent to you.
Ensure that you know how to support team members when a policy is not being followed and change needs to happen.
Policies and procedures
Your workplace should have policies to protect staff from discrimination.
Where a staff member is experiencing this, you should support the implementation of the relevant policies.
If these policies are not implemented properly, you must speak to your workplace steward who can work with your manager, HR and relevant staff networks.