Is respect transactional?

Is respect transactional? What if someone doesn’t deserve my respect, based on my experiences with them?

Does all respect have to be earned? Or is there always an expected level of respect when meeting or working with someone?

When we feel disrespected, the common reaction is to respond in kind. We think this person doesn’t have respect for me so why should I have respect for them.

In a work environment, there is a minimum level of respect expected at all times – some would call this civility. I may not want to be your friend, or even friendly, but I have to respect you.

Easier said than done, at times.

Do you need help establishing more civility among your team?

You can read about our trainings and learn how to register here!

Avoiding Sexual Harassment in 2019

Confused about sexual harassment
Listen to the article

Are you aware of common behaviors that could be considered sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment involves any behavior, that is sexual in nature,  and can reasonably be understood as unwelcome  or unwanted.

Here are a few behaviors to avoid:

  1. Rating another person on an attractiveness scale (“They’re a 10”).  By doing so, you are actually discussing a person’s physical appearance with romantic undertones, which adds up to comments of a sexual nature.

  2. Discussing the nature of one’s personal life with references to sexual activity; you are referring to (personal) sexual activity while in the work context.

  3. Sharing sexually inappropriate photos/videos/emails with colleagues; content of a sexual nature has entered what should be a neutral, sex-free environment for work or study.

  4. Using terms of endearment such as honey, dear, or sweetie. Terms of endearment denote affection toward another person. This affection can reasonably be perceived as romantic in nature, and even sexual. Even though the person may mean nothing to you, it is the impact the behavior has on others that matters.

Remember!

Harassment is always about the IMPACT of your behavior and not about your INTENT.

As soon as comments/actions of a sexual nature become unwelcome by someone in the work context, the behavior falls into the sexual harassment bucket.

Following some basic communication rules will help you to avoid walking on eggshells.

Learn more about developing your capacity to think impact and avoid harassment by going to our website!

The ‘reasonable person’ debate: Is harassing behavior in the eye of the beholder?

In a 2013 article, researchers who study the impact of the law on human lives (Wiener, Gervais, Allen, & Marquez cited below) specifically explored the impact of people’s individual perspectives on their ability to consider the reasonable person’s perspective when judging potentially harassing behavior.

What do we mean by the reasonable person? The reasonable person is, according to Merriam-Webster, “a fictional person with an ordinary degree of reason, prudence, care, foresight, or intelligence whose conduct, conclusion, or expectation in relation to a particular circumstance or fact is used as an objective standard by which to measure or determine something (as the existence of negligence).” The reasonable person‘s point of view is considered when an issue of unwanted behavior occurs in a work environment, in order to help determine whether the act should reasonably be considered offensive.

In reading this article, I learned that there is something called the self-reference effect, where humans tend to reach judgments about outside situations by placing themselves inside the role of the ‘experiencer’ in the situation. As humans, we do this naturally – perhaps as an instinctive survival mechanism. However, in theory, this idea would debunk the whole reasonable person test we use to objectively judge issues. How can we consider the reasonable person’s perspective if we are putting our own emotions and values into that role any way? Isn’t that just our perspective then?

The answer is yes. We have a tendency to put ourselves into the shoes of others when predicting how another person experiences something. But that does not mean it’s impossible for us to consider the reasonable-ness of workplace behavior.  After all, we are held to certain expectations and standards in a work environment are we not?Perhaps a helpful way to think about the reasonable person is to instead consider a prudent, or careful, or responsible, or professional point of view.  

Would a prudent/careful/responsible/professional person consider the behavior unwelcome in a work environment?

 

The first step is knowing where the legal boundaries exist in your context.

Do you (and your team) know what legally defines harassing behavior?

 

Wiener, R. L., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., & Marquez, A. (2013). Eye of the beholder: Effects of perspective and sexual objectification on harassment judgments. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law19(2), 206.

Feeling wronged? Combating negativity bias

I used to work with someone with whom I had a personal issue, and the personal issue I had unfortunately skewed the way I viewed this individual and their behavior in our work environment. Of course I can see this now in hindsight, because this was years ago, but what I also didn’t know back then is that there are strategies for neutralizing our personal biases toward others.

Since then, I have also learned that it is easy to slip into a negative attitude when we feel wronged. Whether it’s because your reputation is at stake or because you just feel ignored, sometimes we fall into a place where we can only seem to think about the negative aspects of a situation.

Could you or someone you know use a simple model for

neutralizing personal bias?

Why risk a toxic workplace culture, when it can be prevented?

The 2018 Oxford Word of the Year is toxic – a word we usually hear associated with substances like toxic chemicals or toxic waste. We usually use the word toxic to warm ourselves and others that a certain substance is poisonous or dangerous.

In 2018, the use of the word toxic grew to be widely associated with certain situations as well, for example toxic masculinity or toxic work environments.

We take the word seriously when it comes to our health (avoiding toxic chemicals), but what about our mental health or our occupational health? Toxic situations at work, such as gossip or rumors, bullying, or harassment, can cause employees to experience levels of stress and anxiety that significantly impact their well-being, as well as the well-being of the business.

Are you taking steps to prevent a toxic work environment?