Women around the world are standing shoulder to shoulder to say #NoMore to sexual harassment and abuse. Men from all walks of life stand right by our sides.
The #MeToo statement’s proudly displayed across social media as a response to the latest public atrocities of Harvey Weinstein and others for decades of abuse and harassment. Victims are realizing the vast power in sharing their stories en masse so that no one will ever feel that they have to squelch their voices again in response to abuse. The energy has been raised!
Most encouraging is the empowering transformation from acknowledging being a victim with #MeToo to the formidable declaration of #NoMore! The victims are not just women. Cruel misuse of power resulting in harassment and abuse affects us all across gender, racial, religious, ethnic, and sexual orientation lines.
How Do We Ensure #NoMore? With These Three Strategies:
Victims face incredible pressures to be silent, to play nicely, and tolerate abhorrent behavior. We feel victimized with no recourse. We’re NOT responsible for our treatment. We DO have the power, and yes, the responsibility to share our stories so that others do not fall victim to the same horrific assaults. We MUST support each other in speaking up and showing bravery in calling out the bad behavior before it accelerates.
Witnesses, too, have responsibility. Women and men alike. The off-color jokes that make someone in the room cringe or withdraw are NOT acceptable. Pressure to continue the party at the next bar should be stopped at the first “Nope. I’m done for the evening.” We all have responsibility to create an environment where each individual’s voice is heard and respected.
“Never, ever leave your wingman” is a mandate from the movie Top Gun. If someone’s uncomfortable in a situation, or upset about an encounter that’s already happened, stand by their side!
When we look the other way or “duck” out of a confrontation or acknowledging an issue, we create the most painful reinforcement to victims that they have no voice. As leaders in life, as well as our organizations, we need to listen with no judgment to how the person really feels. We need to listen fully to issues that we may not want to hear. We need to do everything in our power to have the person in distress KNOW that we hear them and acknowledge their pain.
It’s not our pain. It’s their pain. We may not understand why a certain situation causes pain, but that doesn’t matter.
It’s not a joke. Take immediate, strong action. Communicate loudly and clearly as a leader that harassment and abuse aren’t tolerated. Be very aware of the real fear of retribution faced by victims who are brave enough to speak up. Retribution from peers, from buddies of those with the terrible behavior, from management. Once you break the cycle of silence and victims believe that they won’t be punished formally or informally, you’ve now raised the bar to #NoMore.
Exceptional Leadership’s not easy. We have to take on challenging, emotional issues that push some of our own buttons, and might bring up past hurts. The choice is yours. Continue to enable victimization or transform your organization and our world from #MeToo to #NoMore!
An Executive Leadership Coach can be your impartial advocate, working with you to make brave changes to your organization to address difficult issues. For more ideas visit www.breakaway2greatness.com or contact BreakAway Leadership Coaching founder, Karyn Grant at [email protected]