Getting men who are uncomfortable, comfortable
I read about the survey done by Lean-in.org and then someone sent me the findings post the sexual harassment reports that men managers are three times as likely to be uncomfortable mentoring women, twice as uncomfortable working alone with a woman and senior men (not sure what denotes senior) are three and a half times hesitant about meeting a woman solo at a work dinner and five times hesitant about traveling with a junior woman.
These findings are interesting on many levels. They were done by Survey Money so people (men) did them in the privacy of their own place so we can assume they are true. On one hand, I wonder why men who have upstanding behavior would feel uncomfortable so I have to believe it is the ones who are either insecure or fearful of themselves in these situations biting them in the ass. Quite frankly, the latter is scary and doesn’t say much about the men that took the survey. In fact it says that these men are the type of men that I make me wonder who kicked them up the ladder.
Mentoring young women is an extremely important part of achieving equality in the workplace. It is essential to bring young women up the ladder where they are learning from their male leaders and counterparts and of course their female leaders but the reality is there are more male leaders. By mentoring young women it helps them gain respect and move into more powerful roles. I appreciate the PR campaign that is being tweeted out by some major male CEO’s saying Men Commit to Mentor Women #Mentor Her/lean-in.org but not exactly sure how that is going to move the needle.
What do we do with the men who feel uncomfortable in these roles? We need to come up with solutions so they do not feel uncomfortable. Mentor two women at a time. Don’t close a door when it is just a male executive and a female executive until you feel comfortable. We should absolutely be highlighting powerful men who have mentored women through their careers and show how that has been impactful to the women and even to themselves but that is just amplification. Shouldn’t we be teaching men and women how to behave in business situations from a young age? To learn what is is responsible behavior in the workplace? What we should be thinking about is how do we get the men who feel uncomfortable, comfortable?