Culture, Not Doors

In these days of #metoo, there is a lot of valuable sharing going on. People of all gender identities are sharing their stories of workplace harassment up to and including assault. This societal convulsion is good for the attention it is bringing to the ubiquitous problem of workplace harassment, but it is also resulting in some harmful throwback theories about what can be done about the problem.

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Watch Your Language: Workplace Investigations & What We Say

#MeToo has been a powerful moment. Some of its aftermath has been good, such as employers paying more attention to their complaint process, employees feeling more empowered to speak up, and burgeoning models for bystanders and allies to add their voices to the need for safe and respectful conduct.

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All We Have to Fear

We have too much fear in our workplaces. As human beings, our emotional, cognitive and psychological attention is drawn to threats. Things that cause us to perceive that our well-being is in danger spark physiological and neurological processes that help us protect ourselves. Small threats cause us to secrete cortisol and adrenaline and to experience enough stress to motivate us to tackle the issue (fight) or to avoid it (flight.) In that way, we are well equipped to take the steps that preserve our safety and well being.

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Blind Spots: Human Resources and the Toxic Leader

A magnifying glass has, of late, been turned on unlawful harassment, and, rightfully, organizations are focused on addressing systems that have not always resulted in respect and accountability. This is essential. However, if we believe people deserve safety, fairness, and respect in their workplaces, there needs to be a similar focus on abusive conduct that is neither gender-based nor unlawful. Relational aggression, or “quiet bullying,” is a serious problem.

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Notes from the Field: Four Reminders About Preventing and Addressing Workplace Misconduct

Hello from the frigid temperatures of Minnesota, where I have a rare day at my desk and time to reflect on what the field is telling me. It’s been 10 states, 20 cities and lots and lots of workshops and assessments lately, and each experience has been a reminder that while our organizational conversations evolve to discuss the importance of inclusion, civility, and respect, it remains important that we remember our basics. Please feel free to add your basics in the comments!

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Two Words that Tell You That You Have a Culture Problem

I’m always hearing long stories about the executive I’ve been asked to coach, the leader of a team I’ve been asked to work with, or the Individual Contributor that is causing people to leave. These stories may involve aggressive personalities, immaturity, disruptive communication styles, and social cluelessness. Usually, about at the point where the HR person or attorney is telling me how this person went off the rails, I’ll hear that they tried to explain to the complainant, “That’s just… (insert name here.)”

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EEOC Task Force Report

I have had the opportunity to testify before the EEOC Select Task Force on Harassment, and to testify when Co-Chairs Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic presented its report to the full EEOC.  Additionally, I continue to work with the EEOC to discuss training for bystanders.  If you have not had an opportunity to read the report, it is attached here, and provides an excellent blueprint for improving the prevention and management of workplace harassment.

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