Respect in Business
Respect in business is critical. But, time and time again, off-the-cuff sexual harassment erodes it entirely. One of my colleagues asked me ‘People are saying that there will be a plethora of sexual harassment claims now that the Mark McInnes/David Jones case has been settled – especially given the Christmas season is upon us; what do you think?’
I responded: the case and the embarrassment caused to an iconic Australian retailer is the biggest wake-up call to any leadership team. This type of behaviour is not going to be tolerated. Leadership teams simply cannot afford the brand damage and the loss of reputation… even if that person is performing in their job if they are inappropriate to a colleague then by definition that person is not an ‘A’ grader. To be an ‘A’ grader is a total package – treating all those around them with respect is essential.
The lesson to be learned is one of respect. Respect your colleagues, work place and the brand.
Earlier in the week, I had been at an educational event put on for entrepreneurs by one of the media groups… I listened intently to the two self-made men sharing their growth stories.
One of these men is on the BRW young rich list and has quite a media profile… the first question of him was ‘Do you use a PR agency and how do you handle your publicity?’ His response ‘I interviewed a number of people for the PR role – the first was a 26 attractive blonde woman – and I thought to my self, now that would be a nice person to have around [Nudge Nudge] (we got his innuendo) – then I interviewed an older guy who had been around the traps and done it all. Whilst the blonde looked fabulous I went for the older guy.’
Was this presenter really trying to impress us? He only saw the female candidate for her physical attributes. He discriminated against her because she was attractive. (Well that is the way he made it sound to the group – and if he was just trying to be funny – well he wasn’t). I have some very attractive colleagues – and I have watched men in meetings speak slower to them because they think if a woman is attractive then surely they could not be smart as well.
Then later in the day, I was chatting with another group at a different event – and one man was bemoaning that a board that he chaired had one female representative. And this woman always ran late. He felt he couldn’t bring this to her attention – because she was the only woman in the group. Go figure. Since when do we get a different set of rules because we wear a dress. Next he will think that ‘all women run late’ so he doesn’t want any more females on his boards… (As if no men have been ever late and men wouldn’t be tarred with the same brush).
Anyway I’ve had my rant…. A little bit more respect could help us all – and keep lot’s of organizations out of court.