Identifying Well-Meaning Behavior that May Be Invalidating Identity in Your Colleagues
Individuals and colleagues from certain identities and communities have historically faced exclusion and bias due to systemic discrimination. Although often unintended, this lack of belonging can create a sense of isolation. It can also be frustrating and demoralizing. Additionally, this can lead to decreased satisfaction with working in higher education. Due to workplace bias, individuals may experience less pathways to promotion and other opportunities, causing imposter phenomenon and a lack of perceived value for their efforts and presence.
Discriminatory behavior is usually clear. Microaggressions are often harder to identify and the person responsible may not even realize that their behavior is harmful.
Our expert presenter – Farzana Nayani, a recognized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion specialist, executive coach, keynote speaker and author – discusses how bias and microaggression cause a disconnect between staff and faculty, peers and students, as they can create misunderstandings, conflict, and emotional strain within relationships and interactions. She addresses workplace challenges, feelings of isolation and mental health risks through vivid examples of how this appears in higher education, reflection activities designed to unpack biases and question prompts to foster dialogue among you and your colleagues.
She shares strategies for incorporating perspective-taking and an intersectional lens to addressing this topic. Work toward building your capacity and an empowered approach to disrupting microaggressions and unconscious bias to foster an environment of equity and belonging.
Gain actionable takeaways so you can:
- Acknowledge your own biases within your thoughts and interactions with others – recognize how your identities play a role in your biases and develop strategies to disrupt unconscious bias.
- Define and recognize microaggressions in order to interrupt them – limit misunderstandings, conflict and emotional strain within relationships and interactions to improve your colleagues’ overall workplace satisfaction, sense of belonging and feelings of personal value to your department and your institution.
- Build capacity and an empowered approach to disrupting microaggressions and unconscious bias – implement strategies to foster an environment of equity and belonging.
- Develop a greater awareness of where we attain bias and how society reinforces biases we have – strive towards creating a more inclusive environment free from microaggressions and other exclusionary behaviors.
- Recognize the intent vs. impact in any interaction.
Farzana Nayani is a recognized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion specialist, executive coach, and keynote speaker. She has worked with higher education institutions, Fortune 500 corporations, public agencies, school districts, and non-profit organizations as a consultant and trainer on diversity, equity and inclusion, intercultural communication, and inclusive leadership.
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