Harassment Mistake #1: Failing to Be Proactive

Harassment in all its forms both blatant and subtle can, in many cases, be prevented if leaders are diligent in dealing with it. Unfortunately this is not always the case.  These lapses can be costly for the organization in terms of productivity, customer service, retention, morale and absenteeism.

My experience has highlighted that managers tend to make predictable mistakes in this arena. Over the next several weeks I will highlight the top seven most common mistakes that leaders inadvertently make.

The first and most common mistake occurs when a manager thinks that his/her duty to take action kicks in only when someone has come forth with a complaint or when the harassment is blatant and clearly damaging. They therefore do not take action in situations that seem victimless or in situations where no complaint has been brought to their attention.

Classic examples in this regard occur in instances where inappropriate jokes or racial/minority inferences are made, or where coarse language is used. The tendency here is for a manager to think along the lines of:  well, no one around here is of that minority so no one is offended, or,  this is how guys talk amongst themselves , or  this is how it’s always been around here, it’s too difficult to change it.

Most managers end up procrastinating or ignoring situations for too long. And the price, as mentioned earlier, can be heavy.

Has this happened to YOU? Have you refrained from taking action proactively or been in an organization where the leadership took a passive approach to these matters? What have you done about it? What can you differently as early as today?

Here’s the full list of mistakes:

If your team or organization needs help or just to stay in touch, contact us anytime.


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