The Power of Leading by Example

The value in having difficult conversations

We are at a point of inflection. The rapid-fire revelations about decades of appalling sexual misconduct in entertainment and other industries have underscored the value in having hard and uncomfortable conversations. The revelations are disheartening, offensive and, unfortunately, not surprising for many people. As a parent of a daughter and a son, these headlines have provoked many kitchen table conversations about how to communicate, extend respect and cultivate trust. There is value in difficult conversations.

I find the same conversations pouring into my professional responsibilities as I provide guidance and strategy to organizations. Business leaders are finding themselves at a crossroads, taking a critical look at whether their companies are making a serious attempt to prevent sexual harassment and misconduct, and whether they have the tools and resources to shape safe and healthy organizational cultures to filter out toxic behavior. This of course is easier said than done, especially on a global scale with local impact. Yet if leaders can commit to supporting sustainable values like organizational justice, transparency and respect throughout their organizations, they will stand a better chance of preventing sexual misconduct.

Preventing and addressing sexual misconduct requires direct accountability, and leaders are in a position where they can take ownership of facilitating the solution. In my experience, I’ve found that an effective approach hinges on three elements – positive culture, effective training and accountability – together these can help foster workplaces that provide safe environments for all employees. Read the full article for more on these three elements and how leaders can take care to listen, respond and lead by example.