As the drumbeat of sexual misconduct allegations continues to reveal and remove men from positions of power, now is the time to create new practices for workplace stability and sustainable culture change. The women who are coming forward to report men who have abused their power are brave and correct in their actions. But let’s take the next steps beyond calling men out. Public shaming is not the full solution. This is a teaching moment.
Let’s capture this opportunity and create and commit to an internal system-wide practice that educates men in the art of civility. Let’s reward men who pull other men aside and urge them to correct a mistake, in the moment – and if that correction isn’t made, report these men who refuse to grow and learn.
Current reporting practices are flawed because they are often ad hoc or they stop at HR. Just as new positions have been created to increase workplace diversity, there should also be a new position to generate a culture of mutual respect. HR departments assist employees, but they also represent and protect the companies they work for. What is needed is an impartial person and procedure that is not just to monitor sexual misconduct, but is also part of the solution. We need to clearly define and promote a culture of professionalism that expects all to work collegially and that recognizes and promotes female and male talent. When there is a balance of female and male voices, this abuse is less likely to happen.
As long as old systems are in place and men continue to dominate leadership, women will continue to be prey to male bosses who take advantage of their positions. The positions that are being vacated by abusive men should be open to women. Progressive companies are recognizing this time as an opportunity to bring women’s leadership skills to the table – when they are most needed.
Women bring balance to leadership. Women think through complexity and make decisions based on wide input and long range sustainability. Women listen and build strong teams. Men bring strength, competitive spirit, and persistence to the table. We need all of these skills for long-term growth. And we need a culture of mutual respect.
There is an urgency now to fast track women. Let’s bring a paradigm shift to workplace culture. It’s what #MeToo is calling for.