Toward More Respectful Workplaces

With sexual harassment allegations, as well as sexual abuse, in the headlines again, managers would do well to revisit and reflect upon their affirmative duty to take steps each and every day to ensure that their workplaces are safe and free from all forms of harassment.

In a recent series of workshops, participants generated ideas on actions managers can take that will help to prevent harassment. Here are a few of those ideas:

- Listen actively and with empathy
- Be aware of what's going on it your environment
- Keep lines of communication open
- Educate everyone about the issue and your policy
- Lead by your example
- Be mindful of your own conduct
- Show respect to others
- Treat others as you would want to be treated
- Be a professional at all times
- Take these issues seriously
- Act promptly
- Express strong disapproval of behavior that crosses the line

Do you want to stop workplace harassment? If you are a manager, you've got to DARE to take the lead.

- Differences

In today's increasingly diverse workplaces, it's becoming harder to figure people out. Our diversity can be a great advantage if we learn to appreciate differences. If not, our differences will be a source of confusion, conflict, and discord. The answer? Get to know others better, especially those who are different from you.

- Act

Detecting harassment in your workplace? Nip it in the bud. Take action on the problem fast, rather than ignoring, or sweeping it under a rug, or telling yourself that someone else will take care of it. Harassment can be stopped dead in its tracks if someone will dare to confront it with clear, direct, and specific communication. It takes courage sometimes to face a harasser. But remember: If no one objects to the behavior, it will continue. And maybe even get worse.

- Respect

Can workplace harassment be prevented? While there is no foolproof way to prevent it from ever occuring, you can build a culture of respect and consideration for others. One where everyone follows the Golden Rule, treating others the way they would want to be treated. Ask yourself, Would I want my daughter (or son) to be treated like that? Spoken to that way?

- Expect

The other strong step you can take to prevent workplace harassment is to have clear expectations that people will behave professionally at all times. Make sure your anti-harassment policy is written, published, communicated to all, and frequently discussed and reinforced.

No one should ever have to suffer the pain and humiliation of workplace harassment. It's up to You. Real leaders look out for their people. What kind of workplace are you creating?

Do the right thing.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Sunday November 13, 2011

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