Harassment Mistake #2: Bad Modeling

The previous blog discussed the first of 7 common mistakes made by managers in the harassment arena, failing to be proactive. Let us examine now the second mistake: setting a bad example.

Whatever you do as a leader, whether you are aware of it or not, sets a tone and model for others. This is particularly true in the area of maintaining a respectful workplace. Managers who practice disrespect or lack in professionalism send a clear meta-message: they are conveying a sense that in their work environment certain behaviours are tolerated and condoned.

If you are in a leadership position, you may be reading this you may be saying to yourself:  I’m not one of those who make this particular mistake. Well, before you swiftly come to this conclusion, ask yourself the following questions (and, please, try to answer honestly):

  • Have you laughed at a joke but somewhere in your gut felt uncomfortable about it?
  • Have you talked about a colleague critically in the presence of others?
  • Have you made an “off colour” joke lately?
  • Have you walked by people without acknowledging them?
  • Have you made a gender-focused condescending “spouse comment”, even if only behind closed doors?
  • Have you reprimanded someone with a display of real anger?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may want to change some of these behaviours.
Managers often make this mistake and they allow themselves to model behaviours which, at the very least, could contribute to the creation of a poisoned work environment or, in worse cases, set a tone of a free-for-all work environment.

When managers model disrespectful or even bullying behaviours, two highly undesirable consequences will likely occur: first, other people will feel free to behave in similar ways, the work environment will deteriorate and people will not be able to perform at their best. Second, more serious cases of harassment will not be brought reported since people will not trust that management will handle them fairly. This of course can lead to more serious problems for both the organization and the manager.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to make sure that at all times (even behind closed doors and even in the presence of trusted colleagues) one is modeling the highest standards of behaviours.

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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