Microgressions in the workplace

Microgressions in the workplace. 

Illinois State University's Management professors Tina Thompson and Susan Dustin will present, “Understanding Micro-Aggressions in the Workplace,” at 8 a.m., Friday, in the State Farm Hall of Business room 430.

The presentation is a part of the Organizational Breakfast Series. The series is a continuing education program for managers in the workplace. The breakfast for the presentation will begin at 7:30 a.m.

“Our presentation is designed to help people understand that micro-aggressions are real,” Thompson said.

“They’re very real for the people experiencing them and they have real implications for people’s job performance and their attitudes and behaviors about their organization,” she said.

Micro-aggressions are verbal, behavioral or environmental slight or indignities that can be either intentional or unintentional.

They also make people feel ashamed of a certain demographic they are in. These can include gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, age, economic class, if you have children or not and more.

“It just influences and reminds you that you are not part of the majority.”

During the presentation, the two will discuss three types of micro-aggressions. These include micro-assaults, micro-invalidations and micro-insults.

Micro-assaults are aggressions that everyone believes was an assault. Micro-invalidations are when people are not allowed to freely feel what they are experiencing. Micro-insults are unconsciously committed and are less aggressive then the previously two types but are still just as hurtful.

There will also be an opportunity to have attendees practice fixing micro-aggressions that exist and that they might make.

“I don’t like to think I’ve done it but we’ve all probably committed a microinsult at some point. Most of the time it’s inadvertent,” Dustin said. “Our goal is to enhance people’s awareness of what microaggressions are and how to handle it when they happen.”

The presentation focuses on how important it is to be knowledgeable on micro-aggression, especially in a workplace setting.

“Our success as individuals is really reliant on our ability to get along with others. [Knowing about micro-aggressions] helps to build emotional intelligence,” Dustin added.

“In order to work in a multi-cultural and diverse environment, you need an understanding of this issue of micro aggression.”

Thompson emphasized that these micro-aggressions aren’t just on race, gender and sexual orientation. They can focus on a variety of groups, which can impact a lot more people.

“I hope [people attending the presentation] realize that micro-aggressions are more than being politically correct. Don’t think of it as something that should not be talked about because they have very real implications for the people who are the targets,” she said.

“I want them to be able to engage on other people’s behalf and be an ally if they want to. I want them to know how to develop skills to avoid making micro-aggressions.”

Those interested in learning more about the OLI Leadership Breakfast series can visit their website. 

ANDREA RICKER is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at arricke@ilstu.edu Follower her on Twitter at @ricker_andrea    


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