Protecting Your Workplace Vibes: Navigating Power Struggles


Protecting Your Workplace Vibe: Navigating Power Struggles

By Briana Elmore

Work can be a source of great success and frustration. We can all agree, at work it can be easy for someone to kill your vibe to the point where you are ready to react negatively. However, as young Black professionals, it is important for us to navigate both our emotions and our workplaces in a manner that will help us to secure the bag. Not necessarily to make others comfortable but to make sure you have a solid foundation to build your legacy upon. As we grow, we learn that there are so many different types of people that we are required to interact with on a regular basis in the name of getting our work done. Whether you are the boss or the employee, it is crucial that you know how to communicate and interact with your co-workers to effectively get work completed.

Speaking from experience, I have been tried as a professional. I have had to learn how to channel my emotions in a positive way that will allow me to function properly in my workspace. Basically, I had to embrace the art of the corporate clapback to keep my sanity at work. I have found myself at a crossroads of letting people have it or choosing to stay quiet and letting something slide that should be addressed. I did not want to “rock the boat” too much because I did not want to fulfill any stereotype that society places on Black women in my workplace to discredit accomplishments that I work hard to achieve at work. I felt like I had to deny so much of myself to make people comfortable without any reciprocity. As a result, I did not feel valued nor respected in my workspace.

After letting so many things at work go, I realized that I was unhappy. When I did not say anything to defend or express myself, I was passively contributing to an atmosphere of disrespect by not taking on a position of advocacy for myself. It wasn’t until I learned how to establish respect and boundaries in the workplace that I was able to effectively co-exist with co-workers to carry out my job function.

Likewise, it can be just as damaging to be very confrontational in the workplace. You want to make sure that you are not creating friction between you and your co-workers by kicking up dust every time there is a misunderstanding or something that rubs you the wrong way. Friction in the workplace can stifle your growth as well. We do not want to gain the title of being “difficult” in the workplace.

As a business owner, your professional relationships can make or break your progression in your field. You want to make sure that you have a good reputation in your industry so that you can bring in more resources to establish notoriety for your brand. It is important for you to be firm yet fair in your approach to be a business owner. There will be situations where you must establish a mutual respect with your employees and partnerships alike. You will need to be assertive in most areas of owning your business as you will need to sell, negotiate, manage, and organize everything that makes up your company.

There is a pivotal balance that is required to exist in a professional space. Here are 4 tips that I have learned in my professional travels that can be used by both Twenty Somethins with a 9-5 and our Twenty Somethin Entrepreneurs.

4 Tips for the Twenty Somethin Navigating Workplace Conflict

Pick Your Battles

There will undoubtedly be instances where you want to confront every instance of disrespect that you encounter. However, it is important to pick and chose the times that you address things that can cause workplace conflict. I would suggest that when you decide to pick a battle at work, you choose it based on merit, morals, and principle rather than emotions. If there is an issue that leaves you feeling like you and your work were disrespected, under-minded, or compromised then you should absolutely address it to get a resolution.

Express your concerns while asserting yourself

I am a full believer in getting out your feelings to assess a situation. I also believe in getting your point across in a thoughtful way. For instance, type out an email saying everything that concerns you in your workspace. Once the email is finished, go back and edit the email taking away anything that could be read in an unprofessional manner and send. This method helps you release the emotions but get to the issue.

Have Documentation

Always have documentation of the work and efforts you put forth. Documentation is your method of security in your job. Emails serve as good paper trails because they are often dated and have a time stamp. When sending emails, also utilize the copying feature and include your management so they are in the loop on your movement.

Have a good way to decompress and reset

Always have a way to decompress from the stressors in your workplace. Engaging in your group chat where you can vent about work, a great hobby, a peaceful nap after work or whatever can give you a sense of peace. It is important to do things that make you feel like yourself when you are outside of work so that you do not feel the weight of your job when you leave.

Hopefully these tips assist you in navigating your office space. We are all moving upward and onward. An effective work environment allows your to perform at your best.