This is such a good tip from Harvard Business Management’s Tip of the Day sent March 3, 2019.
When you see offensive behavior at work, speaking up can be scary. But you aren’t doing your job as an employee, colleague, or leader if you let it slide. Research shows that we’re more likely to follow through on difficult things if we acknowledge the challenge ahead. So your first move should be to take a breath and remind yourself that speaking up will be hard. And be prepared for the person to push back when you confront them. Frame your comment as feedback to show you aren’t out to get anyone and aren’t assuming any ill will on their part. If a coworker makes an offensive joke, for example, say, “You may not have meant to offend, but here is how I experienced it.” It’s a good idea to think about different types of situations where you may need to speak up and how you’ll respond. Having a plan will ensure you’re ready to confront bad behavior when you see it.
Adapted from “How to Speak Up When It Matters,” by Khalil Smith et al.