Practice Area

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Responding Productively to Microaggressions at Work

  • Traditional Classroom: ½-day
  • Virtual Instructor-led: One 4-hour session; Two 2-hour sessions; One 3-hour session

Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults that potentially have harmful or unpleasant psychological impact on the target person or group.” Dealing effectively with microaggressions at work requires a willingness to: shift our perspective, sit with uncomfortable feelings, de-escalate our own emotions, and be curious about others’ experiences.

In this interactive session we’ll examine various types of microaggression and how they show up in the workplace. We’ll explore the importance of separating intention from impact in order to drive productive dialogue and connection. Using real-life scenarios, we will practice responding in ways that are productive and authentic, creating a foundation for a work culture of engagement and inclusion.

Target Audience

Individuals who will benefit from this course include managers, leaders, team members, individual contributors, and individuals whose success depends on the ability to cultivate and build relationships.

Program Objectives

  • Define three types of microaggression.
  • Identify real-life examples of microaggressions at work.
  • Articulate the long-term impact of microaggressions on individuals and groups.
  • Explain the importance of separating intention from impact when reflecting on our own actions.
  • Describe productive responses to microaggressions.
  • Practice techniques for de-escalating emotion and creating safety in a dialogue.

Course Outline

Module 1: What Are Microaggressions?
  • Examples and Discussion
  • Video: Microaggressions and “Good Intentions”
  • Separating Intent from Impact
  • Three Types of Microaggression
Module 2: Microaggressions at Work
  • Microaggressions and Accountability
  • Productive Responses to Microaggressions
    • Being on the Receiving End
    • Being Called out for a Comment or Action
  • Activity: Exploring Real-Life Examples
Module 3: Guided Role Play
  • Conversational Guidelines
  • Activity: Small-Group Scenario Work or Guided Role-Play
  • Summary and Next Steps

MDV2010e Course Code

For more information on this topic, as well as how Corporate Education Group can help power your organization’s performance, contact us via email or call 1.800.288.7246 (US only) or +1.978.649.8200. You can also use our Information Request Form!

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