It’s easy to say “Of program not” to my own query of whether I could be guilty of wrongdoing on this scale. The response to many problems is no: Possess I ever dated, attempted to embark in any physical romantic relationship, made sexual explicit responses, or recommended any improper activity with a person within my organization? No. Does that i want to off the hook? I have no idea.
I have winked at men, and at women, soon after making a point that I thought was amusing or perhaps irreverent. Is that wrong? I have lunched and dined with my partners, clients, attorney, and organization associates for decades with no more incident than sometimes fighting over a check. I buy Scratch tickets for male colleagues’ birthdays. Is normally that provocative? I sure hope not really.
Even easily cannot determine anything in my work history about which someone offers ever taken offense, I will not take my clean slate for granted in the future. Power positions have conferred entitlement, incorporating sexual, at work. So, anyone with the energy, female or male, can somehow forget that sexual authority over a subordinate is not a professional perk.
Two times ago, I gave a hug to 1 of my male partners as I left for the airport in San Francisco and he was staying on for more meetings. Was that inappropriate? Certainly not in my book, but the book has been rewritten and I want to stay current with the new edition.
A few years ago, We learned that the guidelines had changed once and for all on interactions between the sexes. The headmaster of the high school for which I offered as chairman of the plank told the students that if they required a hug along with their diploma, a prevalent and longstanding custom at commencement, they should provide him a particular hand signal. Otherwise he’d only shake their side. He was following brand-new guidelines on physical contact with students, and hugs had been verboten, although graduation was an exception. About 50 % the women and a quarter of the teenagers gave him the signal.
If misuse of power may be the dominant enabling force in sexual misconduct, anyone at a higher level within an organization might cause harm, unintentionally, to a subordinate. The dangers of ignoring this subject matter can be quite painful in human terms, expensive to your organization, really disruptive, and wildly time consuming. Insurance premiums, for policies that covers legal cases or settlements, are, unsurprisingly, skyrocketing.
Women in executive positions should not think of themselves mainly because immune to bad behavior or less inclined to face serious costs and repercussions if they act inappropriately. Because a lot of us have been the victims, we should get leaders in solving this workplace problem, both by standing up to your abusers and by establishing examples for model behavior as corporate leaders.
Commentary by Karen Firestone, chairman and CEO, Aureus Asset Operations.
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