Sexual Harassment is Prevented with Tools

Sexual Harassment is Prevented with Tools

When it comes to preventing sexual harassment, bullying, and disrespect, people need more than policies and platitudes. Training alone isn’t enough. “Tools trump training” according to Marcus Buckingham, author of the research-based books First, Break All the Rules; Now, Discover Your Strengths; and Nine Lies About Work. What tools prevent sexual harassment?

By definition, in workplaces of respect and dignity, sexual harassment is non-existent. Harvard professor Donna Hicks, Ph.D., has worked in conflict resolution around the world. She found that respect is defined differently by different cultures, but everyone can agree on dignity. In her book, Leading with Dignity, she identifies 10 Elements of Dignity:

– Accept people the way they are, as neither inferior nor superior to you
– Validate others for their talents, hard work, thoughtfulness
– Give people your full attention
– Make others feel they belong, at all levels of relating
– Put people at ease physically and emotionally
– Treat people justly, with equality and equity
– Empower people to act on their own behalf
– Show that what people think matters to you. Give them a chance to explain
Benefit of the Doubt
– Treat people as if they are trustworthy
– Take responsibility for your actions, apologize

Dignity Prevents Sexual Harassment

These Elements of Dignity become tools because they can easily be turned into observable behaviors. Anyone can observe whether someone was given a chance to explain, or if they were treated with equality and equity. Managers of managers can assess these attributes in evaluating their direct reports. They can observe whether managers take responsibility for their actions, or give employees the benefit of the doubt.

Preventing sexual harassment and discrimination should not be standalone trainings. They should be part of an overall approach which gives managers tools to create workplaces where these Elements of Dignity are fundamental. That’s what makes our programs unique.

By R. Makana Risser Chai

Makana Risser Chai is a trainer, HR consultant and former Silicon Valley attorney who specializes in teaching courses on creating respectful workplaces by preventing harassment, bullying, disrespect, and unconscious bias.