What can be done?
Here is the issue I face as a man: women and men are equally angels and sinners. I do not like trying in the Court of the Internet – who is guilty and who is innocent.
However, as men, we can be aware of casual racism and sexism. And we can help stop it.
The answer has to include the *non-managers* in the room. We can defend our co-workers from this bad behavior by:
- NOT laughing politely
- NOT ignoring it and hoping it will go away.
As men, we have to step up as a group to:
- ask politely that the behavior stop,
- say that it makes *us* uncomfortable,
- say that it is distracting from hitting the quarterly goals.
In other words, don’t defend the victim. Broaden the impact to include the behaviors’ impact on the other team members (males included).
This avoids making the issue just about one person’s sensitivity.
Maybe the offensive person will not change how they behave elsewhere but the goal is to stop the behavior in that part of the work place.
“Talking about Joan’s breast size in meetings wastes time when we really need to make the hard decision about using Google Cloud or Amazon AWS.”
“While we can all agree that Petra is dressed very nicely, I have another meeting in 10 minutes and I need a decision about our next milestones.”
In other words, give a non-reaction to the behavior. Mention it and refocus on forcing the conversation back to the business at hand.
And do this in a polite respectful way that does not burn bridges.
What do you think?