What does it mean to you personally to be supported at work? Support looks different to everybody, but most can probably agree that feeling their hard work is acknowledged, that they’re given the opportunity to move upward, and that their grievances are taken seriously all fall under the umbrella of being supported at work. Unfortunately, not everybody does feel that way. While a significant number of Black women strive to make it to top positions in their company, they’re also one of the groups who experience the most micro-aggressions at work, making it particularly difficult to focus on those higher-level goals.
Companies should be conscious of the work cultures they’re cultivating. They should work closely with their human resources department to make sure that employees feel safe putting the spotlight on injustices. But, like with anything worth having in life – whether it’s a promotion, better treatment, or both – getting there is a combination of seeking outside help and advocating for oneself. We spoke to success coach Dr. Keita Joy, who has been on the OWN network, has a popular online course called Success 101, and does private and corporate training, about how women can advocate for themselves more in the workplace.
Seek clarity first
Dr. Joy brought up the important point that, in a workplace, and especially one that is diverse, you have people of different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, sexualities, experience levels, etc. which can make the environment be ripe for confusion and misunderstandings.
Dr. Joy actually touches on this in an article she wrote for Forbes, in which she notes we shouldn’t assume bad intent if we have an awkward encounter with a coworker. “If you feel any sort of mistreatment, it’s very important early on, to seek clarification. Sometimes things can be a misunderstanding… You say ‘this is what I’m hearing from you…’ it gives the other person an opportunity to see themselves before you have to take things to the next level.”