I believe everyone can agree that, generally, if a person crosses another person’s boundary, it would be great if one person could just tell a person professionally in order to stop the problem from growing.  If you asked an HR professional for their honest opinion, they would probably say that many of their issues they deal with could have been avoided if the parties involved had a conversation about the issue first. Easier said than done many would say.

Here are 2 ideas:

 

  • Practice constructing a dialog with someone, making it safe to raise your issue(s) (Breakview Action lesson)
  • Build rapport with colleagues, reduce misunderstandings & increase productivity (Breakview Action lesson)

 

 

Some communication just doesn’t come naturally. Assertiveness can take practice.

 

Could you or your team use a lesson on strategies for building rapport?

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!

Did you know that the following common behaviors could be considered sexual harassment?

**NOTE: Sexual harassment can be described as any behavior/language,

that is sexual in nature,

that can reasonably be understood as unwelcome by someone in the context.

 

Here are a few everyday behaviors to avoid in 2019:

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

  • Discussing the nature of one’s personal life with references to sexual activity.
    • Why?  You are referring to (personal) sexual activity while in the work context.

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

  • Using terms of endearment (honey, dear, sweetie, etc).
    • Why?  Terms of endearment denote affection toward another person. This affection can reasonably be perceived as romantic in nature, and even sexual when taken to certain extremes. Best to avoid the negative perception.

 

Remember!

It’s always about IMPACT OVER 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 and becomes actionable.

 

Learn more about how to avoid accidental incidents of harassment by going to our website!

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.

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?