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Black Consultants

Had my performance review today, feedback that I got was: “The fact that you’re confident in what you say, and it comes across as very well articulated can be intimidating at times.” Thoughts?

likefunny
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You’re too confident and too well-spoken. This person actually gave you that feedback. Damn. Be advised that you are performing well and this person and your colleagues are telling you it’s a problem. This is likely because they see it as disturbing the natural order. Serious tip: It’s likely time to move to another project / work group / manager. Please consider that. Are you at Deloitte? There is a mechanism for you to report this. It’s 100% inappropriate and a great example of how bias looks and shows up in performance reviews. Your rating will probably be impacted, which will impact your comp. Again, If you are at Deloitte, This is something the BAC would be interested in hearing too. Something personal and recent I can share is - a colleague (Asian female) of mine got really uncomfortable after I gave a presentation because - as she put it - I did not make a lot of space for tangents and delivered too well, so it sounded scripted. I enjoy public speaking and have consistently received feedback that I do it well. This person is smart and has other solid qualities but doesn’t have that skill. She could never deliver a “story” using a PPT deck, but that’s ok because she’s in a career track which doesn’t demand that - whereas I am expected to have that skill. This was disturbing because something that I am good at was described as a bad thing. It wasn’t the first time in my career either... but at least she was a colleague and not a higher up. Sometimes colleagues can sink you by sharing these things with higher ups who will then make it seem like you aren’t teaming well. It’s a lose lose. Sounds like this is what happened to you. And it’s something I see happen to other Black people in the workplace. Either BS criticisms are lobbed or it’s “you are doing this too well and intimidating people.” I think that some people are intimidated or even agitated when Black people shine... and please don’t be Black and female - whew... That can make it worse for them. You have to find your tribe at work. It can take time though.

likesmart
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She's clearly jealous and abusing her position to convey through some passive aggressive BS.

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Quite frankly, this will not be the last time you come across feedback that is racially influenced. With that said, I personally would take a look at myself and see if there is any validity to her statement and if I need to adjust my approach in any way. I assume that you most likely will arrive at the answer that this is a personal problem, hers, and then put it in your box of things to step over and push on. Not your problem that she sees your confidence as intimidating. If the rating is fine and all else is good then I would not necessarily raise this, save your sanity. No need for the battle as we all will have many more to fight in our careers.

likehelpful
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You’re welcome. Like I said, deemed a personal problem. Now you know how to move forward with her. Good luck.

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Sounds like you’re ready to move into a bigger role outside of your current organization! Well done 💪🏾💪🏾

likefunny
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Or inside.

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Idk I hate playing the race card. But let’s call a spade a spade. That has a very racist undertone, I just know Chad and Bob do not get that type of feedback.

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They all but called you an " Uppity Negro." I would have asked them to cite some examples of intimidation. Nobody makes it to "Partner," being sheepish would be my response to them...

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You're making her look bad and she doesn't know how else to say it other than making it seem like you're doing something wrong. She's wack

likesmart
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I had similar feedback i left got a job as a manager paying me 30k more at a better firm. All I heard was them saying we don't pay you to have an opinion only to do what we tell you to do...I don't believe I would have gotten the same feedback if I were a white male. No at my new job they tell me I need to be more aggressive and assertive. Funny how things change

likesmart
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Oh my goodness, that’s some next level BS. I think once they’ve realised that we’re not impressed by their mediocrity, and have understood the subject matter with ease/deliver good work, they get threatened and it’s fight or flight for them. I really don’t get this though, why wouldn’t they want to bring such people into their circle to make them look good? I’ve had peers gang up on me in meetings, or stop listening/acknowledging what I’m saying.. luckily the MD on my project is a very strong character who isn’t swayed by politics, so he ensures that what I’m saying is actioned where necessary, otherwise, it would be awful. I’m going to try and change projects, it just sucks that this may happen again. I don’t even know what the right balance is anymore, I’m not even being too extra at work..😂

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Lol what!? Your ability to do quality work and communicate your points well is too good, tone it down.

likefunny
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are you black?

funnylike
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🙃

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They are trying to extinguish your light so they can feel better. Is this a white boss/reviewer giving this feedback? Do you have a champion?

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Thank you, I was thinking the same thing. I’ll raise it when we next have a catch-up, but will frame it as X mentioned that I can come across as intimidating because of Y, I just wanted to gauge your thoughts on this, etc..

likesmart
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This conversation is so affirming. It’s nice to know we are not alone in what we see. I’m looking forward to when there are more of us at the table so we can influence this. Another share - I left a previous role 15 days after the executive looked me in the eyes and said “I don’t need you leading, I need you doing the work.”

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I sometimes wonder whether there’s a global playbook of remarks that they refer to, because it’s always the shame ish at a different firm. I remember when I started this lovely older White Woman said to me you have what it takes to make it, but it will be tough. I now understand what she meant, there’s too many haters/peers that can be swayed by the haters and therefore block your progress. Excuse me? The audacity of some of these people, I cannot even. Did you escalate before you left?

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Welcome to the club!You are overdue for a promotion and a new role, fam - start looking. I got a similar feedback from an interview round where the HR said “ you’d be a great hire but one of the interviewers thought you were too confident and too articulate with your responses”. Please dial it down and don’t come across as being too scripted and over-experienced.🤦🏾

likefunny
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This was back in 2014. It’s for the best lol.

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Straight to HR.

likefunny
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It’s things like this that make it hard to decipher whether to believe what is said or question it. If I have to think any feedback I’m getting is disingenuous I’d rather exercise my mental energy elsewhere. I mean what’s the point?

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I would say “no” honestly

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This conversation feeds my soul. I have had so many experiences of passive racism and sexism that if I started to write them... Deloitte among them

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Damn. 10 on the bullshit meter. Your coach should have bitch slapped whoever said this. What level and firm? I’m at D in strategy, happy to help if I can.

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What’s the takeaway from this “feedback”?

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I got that once. RUN!

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Ok... I did just that. I stayed. 5 years later, I've had to dumb down myself to make everyone else comfortable (or as they'll say, reevaluate the general culture and assimilate); They don't feel threatened anymore, I still work my ass off. I went from Manager to Senior Manager but I feel emotionally deflated, unhappy, lacking in confidence to fight for opportunities, stuck and like a sell out. EVARIDAY. So, for me.... I would have left. There's a difference in working on performance and work delivery. But once you're getting feedback on your "confidence" or "likeability", take the feedback, learn some things from it and run. I said what I said.

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I am sad to say this but get used to it!!!

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Absolute BS and insulting in my opinion. They definitely would not give that kind of feedback to a yt person in the same position. Still goes to show that they’re afraid of us and what we can achieve. Stay focused and motivated, and find a new role at another company where you’re valued.

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Just listened to the video, numbers across each level less than 10%. I'm curious regarding pay equity and overall pay across each level compared to our white and non-black colleagues - i am certain that gap is more drastic than the % of black employees at each level. Further, the lack of support and having a home as a black Manager compared to others is a challenge in it self with PPMDS. I am looking to get out bcz I am severely underpaid based on my sustained high performance over 6 six years at the firm without a dent yet whereas as few of my counterparts make up to 35K more than I do. Escalated my pay 3-4x but to no avail. These people do not care, end of day we are just numbers.

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