We are definitely in a watershed moment here folks. Women, people are coming forward to say No More to harassment, sexual or otherwise. I have my own #MeToo moments but nothing like some of that we’re hearing about. But that’s how it starts, isn’t it? It starts with someone getting away with, or not getting told to stop, calling someone “Baby Girl.” Or someone else deciding it wasn’t that big a deal, I’m not going to say anything. Matt Lauer didn’t start out with an office & hidden button to lock the door. And yes #notallmen.
My husband and I were talking about it and he mentioned that he didn’t know what he could say to girls, women anymore. Can you tell a woman she looks nice? And even if you don’t do anything wrong, if she (or he) takes it wrong (which doesn’t really matter because it’s not about intent but about the result), you could find yourself in the middle of an investigation. And who wants that? Investigations are messy, uncomfortable, even when you come out okay. (We are on a university campus so we also have Title IX to contend with.)
I keep reading about how we need to improve training. This isn’t about training anymore. We shouldn’t have to tell grown-ass men to keep their junk in their pants. And by now, everyone in corporate American should have had some sort of training (and you know you roll your eyes every time harassment training comes up). But it’s hurry up & get it done so we can check a box that we did it.
You know what’s missing from all that training? That not harassing people is actually easy. It’s called Respect. We have got to get away from the idea that respect is something that is earned. Respect should be freely given by people who need to work or live in the same place. A healthy work environment is filled with people who respect each other.
Now respect does not mean like or love. You don’t need to like someone to be able to work with them. You just need to show them respect. You know the Golden Rule. We forget this, a lot. We humans are selfish beings.
Respect is more than just getting along (Golden Rule isn’t about being “nice”). Respect is being able to call out unacceptable behavior, either when it happens to you or when you see it happen. It’s being able to tell someone “Not cool” and they don’t call you “sensitive” or “too Politically Correct.” [which you do know that PC terms are all about treating people with respect by using terms they prefer when talking about them]
So here’s the challenge, how do we grow respect (and trust if we’re being honest) in an environment where women or those in “lower” positions are not treated with respect?
I foresee a number of posts to explore this. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is respect or trust in a place where it has been broken or non-existent. I want to dive into this as I’m want to improve this where I work.
So as I do more to explore this, I challenge you HR Tribe: what can you do to promote respect where you are? How have you improved respect in your office/department/company? Please share with me so I can compile and use and share.