Sexual Harassment Part 3. What IS being done? The Final Part in the Series by Intercultural Mediator – Susanne Schuler

What IS being done?

In Part 1 we looked at the cultural origins of harassment. In Part 2 we expanded on what actually happens. Now, in this concluding piece, we highlight what actions are needed to diminish the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Let’s train everybody to be aware…

As a broad corporate response to the emerging crisis (Pandora’s box is now open), a wave of group Sexual Harassment Awareness Training Courses are being spashed over executives. And it is all coming in a rush. Centred on behavioural awareness and compliance (no, the other compliance) they have a very specific tone. Often with stern warnings and containing horrible scenarios, the message is one of shame and blame directed at the vile nature of some male behaviour.

Businessman portrait

But, this rapidly deployed and reactive intervention could prove to be counter-productive.

According to some research, there is a downside to this style of teaching approach. Short, high-pressure, punitive harassment awareness courses, that focus on blame and promise punishment, may actually be delaying the desired change in male behaviour in the workplace. A side effect of the powerful content contained in these courses is construed as a general accusation making all men automatically wrong and covering all male executives with a blanket of condemnation. This, in turn, can contribute negatively to the goal, hindering some men to acknowledge the potential for danger. The confrontational nature of the material shifts them from free dialogue into a defensive and avoidant position, where some begin to justify their actions or chose instead to hide in deep denial.

When a corporate sheep-dip course is rolled out rapidly as a reactive tactic by male management, probably in response to a sexual harassment incident within the company, possibly involving one of their own, an instant cure is not always forthcoming.

Unwanted side effects include seeing men taking refuge in polarity, the strengthening of male in-groups for mutual protection and a general disengagement from the subject, and, thus making resolution less likely to occur. When this approach is taken, especially in competitive and sales driven organisations, where the male hero stereotype has been promoted for years as the company ideal, the company finds that their promoted culture of, “hunt like a predator” cannot be switched off so easily or so quickly.

Maybe you can’t sheep dip a wolf.

So, compliance courses, rushed out to all employees in order to kill off the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace are not proving a panacea.

Maybe we need to go deeper in our study of the abuse of power by men and look to see how women get caught up in this dynamic.

For women, the current rebalancing of #metoo and #timesup is creating a safe space, beyond shame and silence, for those at the receiving end of abuse, sexual harassment and discrimination. This movement has peer support, allowing the sharing of stories with less judgement and is, at last, letting light shine in upon decades of secrecy, silence and fearful darkness.

It has taken action by women for women bypassing the boardroom, to get proportionate airtime, begin the debate and change the ground rules for both men and women in the workplace.

What now?

Will the repeated and amplified myth of man as a dominant, experienced, decisive, macho, courageous and an all-conquering hero, morph into something safer, more savoury and more appropriate for today’s business world?

Or, will the bastions of male power lash out, take revenge and reclaim their territory?

If the #metoo door is shut again, we can expect a panoply of abuse, a continuance of harassment in the absence of consequences for men and justice for women wronged at work, and, a strengthening of the ultra-male script – look out with dread for the return of the ravishing Viking.

Or, a better Hollywood script… Imagine the scene – On a wild and windy beach… there gather a critical mass of modern office workers, reborn and newly conscious – a promising new generation of aware workers committed to the creation of a healthier work dynamic that shows up in meritocratic reward whilst allowing for transparent flirting, healthy romance and witty in-group humour, and, killing off the exchange of job advantage for sexual favours.

And, when the #metoo wave peaks, then it will be time to advocate for a code of conduct that covers team buddy banter, in-house flirting, work romance and prescribes a moratorium on sexual trading, physical threat and the abuse of power in the work place.

Questions – Will we see a revoking of the free wheeling sex pest’s power pass in the workplace and the rise of self-policing and self-editing male work colleagues who are fluent in the modern work languages of respect, restraint and reasonable behaviour in the workplace?

Or, will the wave pass and the doors be locked again for another 20 years?

Only time will tell.

The new paradigm could be liberating for everybody.

About the Author – Susanne Schuler is an Intercultural Mediator at CEDR, The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London.

Catch up on the Series so far…

Part 2 What Do We See?

https://culture99.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/sexual-harassment-what-do-we-see/

 

Part 1 Where did it come from?

https://culture99.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/sexual-harassment-where-did-that-come-from-an-opinion-piece-by-susanne-schuler-part-1/

 

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Trainer Resources – 4 Actions To Help You Avoid A Training Day from Hell – Protecting Yourself In The Classroom – by Matthew Hill

How can you prevent horrible feedback, crazy conflict and difficult delegate behaviour?

We have all been there. It starts with a funny feeling in your stomach and then a look or comment from one of the alphas in the room. What is happening? you ask. Am I loosing the room? Lunch is tense and then, there comes an excuse why a few people don’t give in their paper feedback forms at the end of the day. You leave feeling that you put in plenty of effort but that, somewhere along the way, you and the room parted company and were travelling along different roads.

Group Of Businesspeople Gossiping

Horrible Feedback is Horrible

The next day you receive a troubled E Mail from your L&D contact within the company or the provider who supplied you with the subcontract day. And it is all bad news from then on in.

There follows a list of your “crimes” and how negative and upset the room were. Etc. etc. etc.

STOP

It does not have to end like this. Let us make the classroom safe for you again with 4 simple actions…

  1. Rules of Engagement

I always offer up an agreement at the beginning of a training day, coaching or even a speaking engagement. It shows professionalism and represents a light negotiation with the audience where they have a chance to shape the experience they expect and sign up to some rules emotionally. Ultimately, they will get more from you and your session.

My favourite one is, “Be Teachable”. It sounds simple and is profound. Do they think they know this stuff already? Will they have strong opinions about your content? Have they been brainwashed with stereotypes and are poised to attack?

By asking them to take a fresh look and let the material in, you are setting up a space that will allow for maximum exchange with minimum conflict. (Civilised challenge is allowed and even encouraged – Not disruptive conflict.)

And, when we add, “Respect Each Other”, you are sending a deep message about honour and civilised behaviour that will sink into the unconscious minds of the tricky participants and so protect yourself by raising THEIR self- awareness.

  1. Facilitate more than Tell

In these modern times, spraying theory at bored pupils will no longer be accepted. The room now want their share of the microphone and to tell their story.

Interrupt less, correct less and listen more.

Listen at a deeper level and add constructive input at the end. No more death by detail, 75 word slides and learning by rote. Now we are flipping the classroom with interactive exercises and intelligent debriefing. The less you say the more the class will enjoy your session.

  1. Less Essentialist and More Co – Constructed.

I still meet Interculturalists who can’t wait to put flags all over bi-polar dimensions, talk about China and India as if they were homogenous monocultures and peddle sophisticated stereotype as if it where going to help a remote team or diverse group dealing with the stresses and strains of an urgent and important project.

Let us take some responsibility upon ourselves to keep up with the modern world.

  1. Your Authentic Story

Your delegate’s exposure to Social Media and Netflix box sets has whetted their appetite for compelling narrative (and it better be as real as possible.)

Converting your personal experience into useful stories that carry a transferrable wisdom is a great way to engage your audience, build rapport with the group and get them on your side.

Dig to find a relevant story and share it at the right moment. Not too long and told from a humble or witty perspective. Keep the story light, though the meaning may be deeper.

So, with these 4 tools, we can avoid the alpha challenge that signals the end of learning for the day and the start of an awkward defence of your training style and content.

Go save a life – Yours.

Good luck with your next group session…

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural trainer, coach and author.

Contact him at hillmatthew100@mac.com

 

Ethics, Culture and You – A New Code of Ethics

A new Webinar, 25th June, 2PM Dutch time. From SIETAR Netherlands

SIETAR Netherlands has recently introduced a Code of Ethics. It has not always been easy. Their journey to finally realize a Living Code of Ethics, combined with a compliance procedure and a compliance committee, has taken three years.

Join us for this special webinar 2PM, 25th June 2018 to meet the three Sietar members that were deeply involved from the beginning.

Night city view of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The result of hard work in Amsterdam

They will be happy to share their breakthroughs and methods with other Sietarians and interculturalists interested in building up professionalism and process within their own national SIETARs and organisations.

Jacqueline Franssens represents the board of Sietar Netherlands and Teuni Looij and Yvonne van der Pol  will represent the working group that arrived at the Code of Ethics. They will tell of their highs and lows on the journey to successfully making a robust Code of Ethics.

In the webinar they will answer key questions; Why a Code of Ethics? How did they organize the work? And, How did the process evolve? On what topics did they receive support? And, Where did they encounter most resistance? Finally, Why did they move from working on a Code of Conduct and end up deciding for a Code of Ethics?

Join us for this important broadcast and do please take the opportunity to ask your questions and discover for yourself what is needed to reach a meaningful outcome.

To register simply click on the link and follow the Gotomeeting instructions.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7987223390340296449

We look forward to seeing you there…

Research into how language and culture affect how multinational teams work –

Request for input by PhD Candidate Luisa Weinzierl

Luisa Weinzierl

I am researching for my doctorate at the Department of Management and Social Sciences, St. Mary’s University, London. I want to interview people who regularly work in multinational teams, where the language of discussion is not the mother tongue of several participants.

Here are some examples of what people in this situation say:

“People dismiss what I say at meetings because my spoken English is so slow and my accent is not very good. I often feel ignored so I give up – I stop going to meetings and just speak with my native Japanese colleagues. (Non-native English speaker at an American company)”

“Sometimes the English native speakers just ignore us. They forget that we are trying to speak their language. They become impatient with us when we are searching for words or go back to our native language – just to say what we need to say. Last week, our manager just left the meeting and told us to get a translator!” (Native Urdu speaker at an English company)

See Luisa’s YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl42meuJcEc&feature=youtu.be

With advances in technology and the increasing pace of globalization, multinationals rely increasingly the collaboration of teams around the world. These teams may operate virtually, across time zones and may be required to use a common language. But how good is the communication?

Research has uncovered serious negative emotions fueled by language barriers. Depending on language competence, team members can feel insecure and embarrassed when communicating with colleagues. A feeling of exclusion and even communication avoidance may lead to disruption in the team and loss of trust between native and non-native speakers. Usually, bridging the language gap falls to the team leader.

If you are a leader of one or more such teams, or a member of one or more teams where the meeting language is not your native language, or where the meeting language is your native language but there are several non-native speakers of your language, please take part in my study.

If you take part in this study, you will be interviewed for about half an hour, face to face or by Skype or a similar channel. If you take part in my study, you will receive a copy of my research report. To take part in this study, please contact me on:

Mobile: +44 7887 984874

Email: 176092@live.stmarys.ac.uk

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Luisa Weinzierl

Leading Across Cultures in Practice – by Fernando Lanzer Book Review

How resolving our differences shapes our culture

This book represents an overview of the differences between national cultures, and how those differences influence people’s behaviour in business, management, and, in work situations in general. The book manages to develop beyond simple work etiquette and a list of “do’s and don’ts.” Rather, it looks at the underlying values that determine how managers deal with their direct reports, how people communicate at work, what is considered a priority and what tends to be put on the back burner according to each country culture. All of this is communicated in an easy style that is not too academic or technical.

Lanzer Book Cover

Lanzer starts with a panoramic description of the basic concepts describing culture and how interest in the topic has grown due to globalization. He focuses on five of Hofstede’s dimensions and explains why he stops there and leaves out the others.

The book contains a valuable resource for trainers and intercultural enthusiasts – 150 pages describing real-life practical examples gathered from six countries that represent different types of cultures: the US and UK (Anglo Saxon cultures), Germany (Germanic cultures), the Netherlands (Dutch-Scandinavian cultures), China (Asian cultures) and Brazil (African and Latin American cultures).

These sections contain relevant stories that are directly transferable, though they could be better balanced: the section on the United States is more extensive than the part covering the UK for example.

No book is perfect and another book on dimensions and essentialism is not on the top of anyone’s list for urgent reading. And this book does not present new research, new data, or anything moving beyond culture value dimensions as an approach to understanding culture.

Near the end of the book, the author addresses some of the critical issues often raised in discussions with workshop participants: the relationship between culture values and religion and the dilemmas that each culture seeks to resolve. Lanzer has some slick and functional answers and concludes that these dilemmas are universal: what differentiates one culture from another is the way they find to resolve their main, contrasting issues.

Who should read this book?

The book will be of special interest to those getting acquainted with the topic of culture and diversity, and who seek a plain speaking and clear approach to the culture dimensions model as introduced by Professor Geert Hofstede.

Amazon link to buy the book;

https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Across-Cultures-Practice-Fernando/dp/1977620574/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509106338&sr=8-1&keywords=Leading+Across+Cultures+in+Practice

About the Author

Author Lanzer

Fernando Lanzer Pereira de Souza is a Dutch Brazilian psychologist and consultant who worked in AMRO Banco Real in HR & L&D in Brazil.

He founded the leadership and OD consulting firm LCO Partners 10 years ago with his wife Jussara who is also a psychologist and consultant.

He travels the world servicing his clients and visiting his four daughters who live on different Continents. Fernando is a former member and Chair of AIESEC International’s Supervisory Group. He now sits on the Board of Trustees of ISA – the International School of Amsterdam.

Energetic Volunteer Wanted, 28th – 30th June 2018, Lisbon Portugal – €150 Cash.

The Intercultural Training Channel is running a marketing event for Intercultural trainers and coaches in lovely Lisbon in Portugal.

We are actively seeking a volunteer “runner” – Probably an enthusiastic student, to help set up the room in the Vintage Hotel and Spa at the start of each training session, marshal the participants back from their breaks (special persuasion skills required), hand out papers, workbooks etc., operate recording equipment, fetch lunch & drinks, take notes, etc.

Lisbon Historical City Panorama, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

The venue is the new Vintage Hotel and Spa, Lisbon

The runner role is not paid, however we will give you €150 toward your time & expenses. You will be welcome to learn as much as you can in the room with the interculturalists. Probably someone with a marketing, intercultural or social media interest would benefit most from this experience.

The training is IN ENGLISH.

Interested?

Please feel free to contact me and we can talk about the role in more detail.

Thanks,

Matthew

Matthew Hill

The Intercultural Training Channel

Web; culture99

hillmatthew100@mac.com

+44 7540659995