Inappropriate sexual behavior seems to be the sin of choice these days. I guess people get to a place in life where they feel they are above the law, or decide they can behave any way they want because they have been able to get away with it so far.
Much of our nation has been teaching since the 70’s that if it feels good, do it. When people speak out against this immoral behavior, we are quickly told not to try and force our beliefs on others. Moral relativism is running rampant in the lives of the leaders of our country, businesses, schools, churches and households. Now is a good time to remember that morality is not defined by individual choice.
“Morality is not defined by individual choice.”
You may have hard time defining what is moral but most of us know what is immoral when we see it. You don’t need to send your team to sensitivity training to know it’s wrong to use foul language and dirty phrases in the process of working with others. Your team knows it’s wrong to make sexual comments, dirty jokes, and have inappropriate physical contact, even without sending them to a sexual harassment training course. However, as the leader of your company, it’s your job to set a clear standard and hold people accountable to good behavior.
This is a good time to pull your team together and discuss what standards of behavior you want for your company. Here are a few things you can do today to help you avoid a future sexual harassment claim at your company.
Be The Example.
It all starts with you so make sure you are the professional leader your team will follow. Are the jokes you tell appropriate, are the word you use professional and respectful of those who will hear them? Are you treating someone of the opposite sex the way you would want someone to treat your son or daughter?
Use the Grandma rule. Assuming your grandma was as sweet and kind as mine, ask yourself “would I be doing or saying this if my grandma was here?” For me, I know that GOD is with me in everything I do so my standard needs to live up to His. For you, it may require you consider the grandma rule more often to help you be the example you really want to be.
These people who act inappropriately with others have NO respect for their victims. If you build a culture where your team is taught to respect each other, it is less likely that someone on your team will act inappropriately. When we learn to care about others more than ourselves, we are willing to adjust our behavior to build unity in our team.
You can’t control what some angry ex-employee will decide to make up about you, but you can live your life in such a way that when people accuse you of something, everyone stands up and defends you. In the case of Harvey Weinstein, when someone finally accused him, people came out in scores to echo the accusations. The long history of his inappropriate behavior made the accusation all that much easier to believe.
You and your team need to set clear boundaries on what is appropriate. Your reputation needs to be rock solid so no accusation can win against you in the court of public opinion. Make a decision to avoid being alone with someone of the opposite sex or to bring someone along with you. Keep doors open or add windows to meeting rooms so people can see that nothing inappropriate is going on behind doors. Watch how much you drink at parties, don’t text pictures your Grandma wouldn’t approve of, and control what you say.
Hold People Accountable.
Do not allow bad behavior to exist on your team. When you do, the perpetrator considers this as an endorsement of their inappropriate behavior. The rest of your team will see it that way too and feel betrayed because you are not sticking up for them. Over time this leads others to behave inappropriately or not live up to the standard you really want from your team.
Deal with any issues you see now. Concrete is easy to move when it’s wet; wait until it hardens and you’ll need a jack hammer. (Read the article on Fix Your Problems Now). One way or another, bad behavior usually stops. It stops because someone gets busted for it, gets fired, gets sued, and hits rock bottom. It’s at that point that most people finally realize what they were doing was wrong but the damage is already done.
Take stock of what you are doing and what people on your team are doing, and make the changes you need to make today. If you need help with this contact me today.