September 13, 2022

221: Reducing and Responding to Microaggressions with Martine Kalaw

Microaggressions are harmful words and actions that stem from biases and stereotypes. They’re subconscious, meaning we may not even realize we’re being offensive or biased. The damage they inflict can be long-lasting and impact how individuals relate to us and the entire company. As managers, it’s our responsibility to create a professional work environment that fosters understanding and listening, so all people can feel safe and supported at work.

Today’s guest is Martine Kalaw. Martine is an Elevation Strategist – she shifts mindsets, builds bridges & delivers results. She is the author of Illegal Among Us, experienced being an undocumented immigrant, and is a DEI Consultant.

Martine and I talk about how to confront, respond to and learn from uncomfortable DEI situations in the workplace. Maybe it’s something you said that landed the wrong way with a team member or maybe it’s something a colleague did that was insensitive or exclusionary. We talk about microaggressions and how to get smarter about your own behavior since so often we don’t even realize we’re creating harm.

Members of the Modern Manager community can get a free 60-Minute Masterclass: Advancing DEI. Scheduled for September 22, this 60-minute class will give you the top five keys to advancing DEI in your workplace over the course of 90 days. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get episodes, articles and free mini-guides delivered to your inbox.

Read the related blog article: What To Do About Microaggressions In The Workplace








Key Takeaways:

  • Microaggressions are actions or words that are unintentionally offensive, stemming from biases and stereotypes.
  • 40% of people leave their jobs due to microaggressions.
  • Microaggressions come from biases rather than personal encounters. The more diversity on the team, the fewer microaggressions.
  • Microaggressions are diminished when there’s more than one person from that background on a team.
  • Set aside 10 minutes during 1-on-1 meetings to ask for feedback to learn if you said anything harmful or if the preson has experienced any harm.
  • When informed of a microaggression, don’t react defensively. You don’t need to agree to be an ally. Listen to understand rather than defending your honor.
  • Engage in solutions together. Consider what could be said/done differently.
  • Ask your employee’s permission to ask follow up questions so it doesn’t feel like an interrogation. If it’s not the right time, address it at a future date.
  • Show vulnerability that you are on this DEI journey and admit your mistakes. Employees will respect you for your growth mindset.

Want More Great Episodes?

Check Out These Fan Favorites