As leaders, what is our responsibility here? Listen, I don’t expect we dive headlong into every issue, headline or whisper, BUT, we do have a responsibility to stand up and say, ‘Yes, this system is broken.’ And it applies to both women and men. BUT we are the generation of leaders that can fix it. We are the women that can lead from a place of pain and secrets to a structure of honesty, safety, and education. We can prevent future incidents from continuing to be commonplace. And you don’t have to be in Hollywood to do it.
Allow me to use the example of a nonprofit I work with. They found out one of their mid-level instructors had allegations leveled against him for past incidents at a different job. They reacted boldly and simply, even though through their name got pulled into the mix.
They made no excuses. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know. They wholeheartedly lived their values and making excuses or second-guessing anything had no room there. They addressed the situation publicly and immediately.
They placed no blame. This is a tough one. We all want to point the finger when a woman says that she has been victimized and attack the accused. NOT YOUR PLACE. We can offer loving support, resources and mentoring, but it is not our place to be the judge and jury. We need to take the person at their perception and help them process instead of tearing away at an event that we were not present for.
They created a safe place. At every level of their organization, they created a safe person, an anonymous email address.They made it available and accessible for every part of the org and ensured anonymity and protection with a no retribution ever policy.
This will not be a quick fix. As women, we have an additional responsibility to lend a hand, because there are too many of us that say, ‘Me Too’. You may have become an accidental leader, or you may have planned for your leadership for your entire life, but if you are a leader you bear the responsibility of facilitating change and protecting those in your posse. The best thing is this isn’t a political issue! It isn’t a grey issue. It’s an opportunity to keep others safe and that is a value we should all share.
Marie Hale is the owner and co-founder of @revenue, a sales and marketing collaborative dedicated to changing the world, one business owner at a time. Marie was also very proud to have been honored with the Midwest Women in Tech Leadership Award in the area of Marketing & Media 2017.