Workplace Bullying and 6 Impacts on Black Women
January 10, 2024
Courageous Navigation Through Workplace Bullying
In the vast ocean of the corporate world, envision a seasoned sailor – a mid-to-senior career Black woman – expertly navigating her vessel amid the turbulent waves of workplace bullying. This scenario is not drawn from fiction but reflects the reality many Black women face in their professional lives. Unlike the serene journey of a supportive work environment, they often confront the stormy seas of subtle hostilities and discrimination, particularly as they ascend towards senior roles. This blog aims to shed light on the less-discussed aspects of workplace bullying, focusing on its unique impact on Black women in mid-to-senior career stages, and how they can find guidance and support to navigate these challenges.
Bullying in the WorkplaceStatistics and Black Women’s Experiences
While workplace bullying is a recognized issue, its specific impact on Black women, especially those eyeing senior roles, is often underreported. The recent death by suicide Dr. Antoinette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey, who was the Vice President of Student Affairs at Lincoln University of Missouri is a painful reckoning of what can happen when workplace bullying is allowed. According to an article by Dr. Leah P. Hollis, about 37% of employees will experience workplace bullying in their lifetime. Dr Hollis goes on to state women are targeted in workplace bullying scenarios, they often leave for and find work in other organizations. The Workplace Bullying Institute states that since 2017 workplace bullying has increased. The intersection of racial and gender biases amplifies, resulting in more women experiencing adverse experiences.
Unique Challenges for Black Women
The complexities of bullying in the workplace for mid-to-senior career Black women extend beyond overt aggression. It often manifests in microaggressions, subtle undermining, or exclusion from pivotal meetings – all signifying a lack of acceptance in leadership circles. This form of ‘invisible’ bullying, harder to pinpoint and address, can be more detrimental, eroding self-esteem and sense of belonging.
The Impact on Career Advancement
For Black women aspiring for senior roles, bullying workplace is not just a workplace issue but a significant career barrier. The resultant work-life imbalance and potential burnout hinder their ability to demonstrate their full potential and leadership capabilities. Moreover, the ongoing stress of navigating these hostile environments can lead to long-term physical and mental health issues, further impeding their professional advancement.
Resilience and Support for Bullying in the Workplace
Consider the story of Angela, a 40-year-old Black woman in a mid-level management role. Despite her competence and dedication, she often faced indirect undermining by her peers. Angela’s turning point came when she sought external support via career coaching, which helped her deal with workplace bullying while also managing work-life balance and burnout. This support was instrumental in her eventual promotion to a senior role.
External Support and Coaching
For mid-to-senior career Black women, seeking external coaching can be a game-changer. A coaching service like V.I.P Career Services offers targeted support, focusing on resilience building, confidence enhancement, and leadership skill development. These services are essential in helping combat the effects of workplace bullying, ensuring these women don’t just survive in their careers but thrive.
Beyond Bullying: Cultivating a Supportive Environment
While individual resilience is crucial, the responsibility for mitigating workplace bullying does not rest solely on the victims. Organizations must foster inclusive environments where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated. This involves training sessions on unconscious biases, creating robust anti-bullying policies, and ensuring fair representation of Black women in leadership roles.
The Role of Allyship in Combating Bullying in the Workplace
Allyship within the workplace plays a critical role in supporting Black women. Allies can help amplify the voices of Black women, advocate for their ideas, and provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their leadership abilities. This collective effort can create a more equitable and supportive workplace culture.
Leveraging Networks and Mentorship
Networking and mentorship are invaluable for Black women navigating their careers. Establishing connections with other professionals, especially those who have navigated similar challenges, can provide both practical advice and emotional support. Mentorship, particularly from those in senior positions, can offer guidance, open doors to opportunities, and serve as a powerful advocacy tool.
Conclusion: Empowering Black Women Against Bullying in the Workplace
Bullying in the workplace is a complex challenge for many mid-to-senior career Black women, particularly those aspiring to leadership roles. The journey is fraught with obstacles, yet with the right support systems, such as coaching services like V.I.P Career Services, and a collective effort to foster inclusive workplaces, these challenges can be overcome. It’s time to recognize and address the unique hurdles faced by Black women in the corporate world, paving the way for a future where their journey to the top is not hindered by the rough seas of workplace bullying, but aided by the tailwinds of support, respect, and empowerment.
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Twanna Carter, PhD, ICF/PCC, Career Coach for Black Women Leaders | 20+ Years of Experience Helping Women Achieve Their Career Goals | Leadership | Personal Development | Business Strategy | Career Development | Lifestyle Balance | Digital Business Card | Free 30-Minute Career Solution Call