The result of this type of culture is endless “mine’s bigger than yours” contests, such as taking on and bragging about heavy workloads or long hours, cutting corners to out-earn others, and taking unreasonable risks either physically or in decision-making. The competition breeds unspoken anxiety and defensiveness, undermining cooperation, psychological safety, trust in coworkers, and the ability to admit uncertainty or mistakes.
The report found that being the only employee of your race and ethnicity or your sexual orientation is a reality for many. Forty-five percent of women of color and 37 percent of men of color are often the only or one of the only people of their race or ethnicity in the room at work. And the numbers are even higher for gay people: 76 percent of lesbians and 70 percent of gay men say they are onlys. For one-fourth of people working in corporate America, a typical day at work means being a lonely only.