“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. In her book, Leading with Dignity, Harvard professor Donna Hicks, Ph.D., says in her conflict resolution work around the world, she has found that respect is defined differently by different cultures. But everyone can agree on dignity. She has identified 10 Elements of Dignity which are included in all of our programs:
– 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
These Elements of Dignity are included in all of my training programs: Defeating Harassment with Dignity, Defeating Discrimination with Dignity, Documenting with Dignity, Employee Discussions with Dignity, and Investigating with Dignity. These Elements of Dignity become tools because they can easily be turned into observable behaviors. Employees know whether they were given a chance to explain, or if they feel treated with equality and equity. Managers of managers also can assess these attributes. They can observe whether managers take responsibility for their actions, or give employees the benefit of the doubt.
Preventing harassment and discrimination should not be standalone trainings. They should be part of an overall approach which gives managers tools to create respectful workplaces.