“When we aren’t overly talkative, overly expressive and living our lives out loud as they expect, I believe our lack of animation and conversation can be misread as mean, unfriendly, angry, unhappy, and even not engaged. The trouble with this is, this misperception can impact leaderships' decisions about raises, bonuses, promotions, and key assignments.”
This was highlighted by writer Brianna Holt, in her viral twitter thread about her workplace experience as an introverted Black woman working on an all-white team. Despite being a high performer, her introverted behaviour was constantly mentioned as an issue in her performance reviews. When she asked her manager what he meant by ‘Needs more improvement in team effort’, he gave the examples that she didn’t often go to team social events, didn’t talk much in the team Slack channel and didn’t interact with others. Hundreds of Black women added to the thread to attest that this was also their experience, many highlighted that their managers had criticised them for ‘not making jokes’, being ‘difficult to read’, not showing ‘enough personality’ and felt this was holding them back from being promoted or getting a pay rise.