Our CEO clients and CEOs as a whole are taking a new look at how they interact with female employees, particularly in the face of the current popularity for lodging sexual assault allegations.  It’s apparent in a recent WSJ article that the personal stories of women describing disrespect, intimidation and even assault have awakened company leaders to the “lopsided power dynamics” of their workplace relationships.  For this reason, they are reexamining how they engage with colleagues and employees.  In some instances, they are taking more precautions with physical contact and closed-door meetings; in others they are not hesitant in calling out questionable behavior.  Women CEOs, myself included, have become concerned that anxiety along these lines could result in the pulling back and reluctance of male leaders to select women to roles that could present future proximity problems.  This response might well have the effect of eroding women’s possibilities for promotion and advancement. Thus, a caution to all:  everyone in corporate positions should ensure that they are being treated well and equitably, as well as that they are responding in the same way to others.  However, in order to engage effectively in the workforce, it’s always wise not to take oneself too seriously, nor the actions of others.  Most unintentional slights are basically inconsequential in the scheme of things.  Should there be persistent untoward behavior the excellent resources that exist in all corporations are available to assist in accommodating appropriate action.

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