Business Practice: Witnessing a microaggression

How should you respond to a colleague’s careless remark?

Credit: Joey Guidone

Feb 13, 2019

Sections Strategy

Business Practice is a collaboration between Chicago Booth Review and Chicago Booth’s Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership. Tell us how you’d deal with the situation below; once you submit your answer, you’ll be able to read and evaluate other readers’ answers, and they’ll be able to read and evaluate yours. Shortly after we stop accepting new answers, we’ll post an analysis of the results by Chicago Booth professor of behavioral science George Wu, and if you like, we will follow up with a personalized email explaining how other readers responded to your answer. Check out analysis of past Business Practice scenarios here.

You work as a product manager at OmniTech. Once a quarter, the product managers for the different technology teams meet together to set goals, problem-solve, and coordinate their work moving forward. 

OmniTech is a fairly flat organization. However, Ryan Miller, the most senior product manager, ends up being a de facto leader because his opinion generally carries the most weight. Greg Brooks, the manager who has been at OmniTech second longest, runs the meetings. In addition to you, Ryan, and Greg, there are six other team leaders: Michael, Steve, Yong, Becky, Ishaan, and David.   

As Greg is getting ready to start the meeting, he turns to Becky and asks, “Will you take notes during the meeting and then send them to everyone afterwards? I know you did it last time, but you’re good at this sort of thing. Most of the team leaders are better at focusing on the big-picture issues.”

Greg’s question was not directed to you, but you may nevertheless want to respond in some way—either in the moment or later. Would you respond to this event? If so, who would you approach, when, and what would you say? 

This Business Practice scenario is now closed to new responses. Thank you to everyone who offered their insights and helped evaluate answers. Click here for Jane L. Risen and George Wu’s analysis of the answers we received.