Getting Ahead as One of the Only BIPOC on Your Team Can Be Hard.
You stand out – so do I. Sometimes for good reasons and sometimes, not so good.
So how can you channel and leverage your talent and skills to get ahead in the workplace because of your differences NOT despite them?
The hardest working and brightest people all over the world emigrate to the U.S. for the American Dream. Some of the greatest minds are born every day with disabilities and yet, without them, we would have no breakthroughs in science. Diversity is not just about race or gender – it’s about our different abilities, ways of thinking, how we were raised, and more. Only when the workforce reflects the true population of our community will great innovation occur.
When you build self-confidence, remove self-limiting beliefs, and arm yourself with data and proven career strategies, you learn to find your voice at work, get noticed, AND most importantly, valued. Self-introspection is key to developing the best version of you – the tech leader within. Prepare for tomorrow with knowledge and skills today. You are capable of more than you know.
The strategies I started to develop there stemmed from my desire to belong and help others feel like they belong.
Here Are 5 Tips I’ve Used To Get Heard AND Get Ahead
Escape Your Monolithic Silo.
You don’t have to be a manager to know people in your team and beyond.
Set up 1:1s with your teammates, people outside of your immediate group, department, etc. Learn about what they do and ask about their pets or favorite foods.
Those new friends can help bridge communication gaps and mitigate and reduce future issues that inevitably happen when tensions arise. Plus, not only will you develop great friendships, they can transform into future networking opportunities.
If your new friend is a top performer, your earning potential can increase 10x. Top performers job hop 3x as often as others, so when they jump to a better place, maybe they’ll bring you? It’s happened to me and vice versa.
Bring Your Best, Not Your Baggage.
Corporate America is not the TV show Entourage, with wannabes throwing out industry jargon and buzzwords and acting like each other.
You don’t have to look, talk, or think like everyone else. I’ve met kind minority women who become the b-word once they’re promoted to stay competitive with men.
Why do this?
Being a BIPOC leader should not change who you are. In fact, it should empower you to be steadfast — there is power in being yourself. If you bring your best, not your baggage, you will go very far in your career.
Collect and Use Data.
Even if your company doesn’t put much emphasis on data-driven decision-making, you should.
When you do research and investigation to back up your ideas with more than just “what your gut says,” your arguments immediately become more persuasive and your impact is amplified.
Find ways that your company can provide training and certifications for the skills and tools you use the most. If they don’t, bite the bullet and pay for them yourself — and let the company know you did that.
Your commitment to doing your job with better outcomes and efficiencies will separate you from the rest who are just there to collect a paycheck.
Ditch Job Titles During Meetings.
The most socially accepted discrimination in the office is your Job Title. If we can’t start there, then the BIPOC bias is difficult to overcome.
People seem to dismiss ideas from interns and receptionists, but million-dollar ideas can come from anyone.
If you’re invited to a meeting, your job title, skin color, gender, religion, and everything else should not enter that meeting — the only things that are allowed?
Your brilliant ideas, your amazing voices, your inquisitive minds, your sharp strategies, your incredible wit, your genuine smiles, your drive to get work done, and your big hearts.