Women at Work

The article, “Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee”, triggers thoughts on servant leadership for me. I have worked for 30 years in a factory where most celebrations were food of some variety, and usually served in part by the mostly male leadership. The earliest plant manager normally cooked for the plant and clearly wanted to impress both that we were all on the same team and no office housework was above anyone. So the “get me coffee” culture is for the most part a foreign experience to me.

Having said all that, the planning and organization of those events was almost always women, and they did that on top of their regular jobs. The point in the article of men being recognized for their helping over the women being recognized is true to my experience. Men and women both need to participate in the re-balancing of help. Women probably bring their gender roles from their home/family lives to work, making coffee, etc without being asked. Men have to participate in preventing or eliminating gender roles in the workplace. Recognizing that all types of workplace help are what really makes team players.  Too often, not being a team player is another way is saying “not going along with my agenda”. We need to re-establish what being a team player is. That is, sharing the office work that doesn’t get credit but needs to be done.

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Women in Business

The article, “Women Are Leaning In- But They Face Serious Pushback”, by Sheryl Sandberg, brings up issues of gender equality in the workplace.

The discussion around how women are perceived as too aggressive when they negotiate or act assertively in the workplace is an interesting one. Some men do seem to be treated as strong leaders when they use pressure or intimidation tactics to advance, and this certainly is not the case for women.  It was interesting to learn that when women addressed the issue of bias against their assertiveness, it actually helped. Along with this issue of perception against them when negotiating, women face the challenge of being in a minority in many leadership roles and then have then have to face basically being in the out-group on a regular basis. Difficult to overcome when work is a place where all male teams seem to depend on cliques and personal relationships to promote and advance agendas.

Diversity in the workplace, not just gender, but race and even personality diversity is critical to organizational success. Recognizing and being comfortable with bring in those with opposing approaches and opinions is difficult enough for leaders, even before facing the issue of gender differences.  Too often diversity is viewed as a requirement instead of a opportunity.

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Thoughts on Baylor University topic

The issue of a possible 52 rapes by Baylor University football players over a 3 year span and the culture that existed there is a reflection of the overall rape culture that exists in society. Some articles seem to key on the fact that Baylor is the largest Christian university in the world, but I think that is irrelevant.  Christianity or any other faith does not make people less likely to commit crimes and it certainly makes them no less capable of social injustice.

Outside of that, the issues I see in these cases are really issues of leadership, a win at all costs approach, and entitlement. Leadership in that the Briles family likely supported a culture that lured players in with a no rules, take advantage of the situation approach in order to win. Using sex to lure young male athletes is likely at least part of what was going on and the Briles family enabled it. The entitlement piece seems to come with being elite athletes. It seems to result in an ability to put aside right and wrong and do what they choose. This article led me to think the rapes were only part of what was allowed to happen to lure in athletes.

Sadly, the Briles family did not see rape as crime, but as a tool to win football games.

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Comments on, Tell Me There’s No Rape Culture

America does have a rape culture. At times it feels like an indictment of all makes, but it isn’t.  It’s the culture that excuses the crimes in many ways over and over. It’s also a nation that, men and women together elected Donald Trump after his recorded comments about men and how he treated them were played for everyone. The rape culture isn’t just men, it’s women too, and that we excuse a person to the degree that we would elect them president shows how tolerant of the culture we are.

It’s difficult for me to be part of discussions that describe male behaviors in ways that I have never seen or been a part of, but I know happen. I understand why women have to take precautions that men don’t, although if I am the unknown male they are wary of, it does give me the slightest understanding of what discrimination must feel like to others.

Rape culture is prevalent in nations across the world, but having a lower rate than other nations should not allow Americans to feel any less responsible. Sometimes it seems like the worse it is in other countries, the easier it is to excuse the same or similar behaviors here. Likely true of all issues of social injustice.

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Comments on “Teachers’ Responses to Bias in the Classroom”

The research article on teacher’s responses to bias in the classroom reminded me that bias is everywhere and response is important. For me, the message is that a response is more important than no response, and it seems that perceptions of effectiveness of response probably varies greatly between the students witnessing and the instructors measuring their own effectiveness.  Also significant is that confronting bias earlier in a student’s life would be more fruitful than situations later in a person’s life.  The study, as detailed as it is, didn’t pursue student’s responses to bias versus teacher’s responses, and that would have been interesting to me. To understand how observant the students were of bias, and willingness to confront.  It’s a difficult article to pass on to someone to read. The value for me is more in acknowledging that instances of bias occur in classroom settings and how teachers respond can have significant and last impacts on their students.

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Thoughts on “The Parable of the Sadhu”

parable of sadhu

The article The Parable of the Sadhu by Bowen McCoy,  for me pursues the reason why people do not act even when the decision being made goes against their personal ethics.  It is interesting in the link to businesses where employees’ ethical standards are going to be different, to think about how those outliers will likely get over-ruled regardless of how just or unjust the act may be.  Organizations must provide the ability for individuals to express differing opinions on actions related to ethical decisions, but the organization is ultimately a collection of people, not some ambiguous other thing. We, must provide people the ability to express differing ethical opinions, and support changes in decisions and approaches when the current state is challenged.


About, Dark Matters as Keys the Universe- And Human Empathy

Okay, so physics is not a topic of interest to me, but I get the connection the author, Lisa Randall is making. Dark matter, Black Lives Matter.  We seem to be more interested in understanding the significance of dark matter (which we cannot see) than the black lives that are in front of us. Racism treats people like they are less significant simply because of their race.  There is also a connection between the biases we have but haven’t acknowledged and the impact of dark matter on the universe, even though we can’t see it.

Empathizing with people we whose experience is different than ours is like believing in dark matter that is invisible to us, yet such a powerful force impacting everything.

Randall makes a number of good points in how we can miss what people of different races bring to the world by treating them like dark matter- they aren’t part of our in-group so we don’t work to either empathize with their experience, and also miss out on the talents they have, not only in a business capacity, but in a human capacity.

I particularly like these pieces, “Most people mistake their own perspective, shaped by their subjective and limited perception, for the absolute reality of the external world. Questioning this assumption is what advanced our research on dark matter. It is also the only thing that has ever advanced human empathy.” Being locked into our own perspective as reality is prison that limits human potential.

Also, “Empathy is difficult. It is also crucial to the progress of both science and society. It demands that we make a deliberate and consistent effort to step out of our familiar frames of reference. Only then can we synthesize different perspectives, observations, and experiences — the very act at the heart of creativity, which will be essential to solving the increasingly complex problems that beset our world.”. I couldn’t agree more that creativity is essential to solving complex problems, and empathy and stepping out of our own perspective to be creative is a requirement.


Thoughts on White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

I have to applaud Peggy McIntosh, the author of Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, just for being able to sit down and make a list of ways she knows bias affects other people’s lives, without being the victim. The key word being others. Being able to see the negative impacts bias has on the lives of other people is a powerful step. Being able to see the impacts on all of us because it causes to treat people not just unfairly, but to give up human potential simply due to bias, is still more powerful.

The people in my small world have always been ethnically diverse, not because I did anything to cause that, but where fate I suppose put me. Still, I recognize that even in my circumstances, I had power to change those circumstances that others did not, and do not now.  I certainly could not impact the bias’ of others. As a manager, over the last few years I have come to see the weakness of what I instinctively call judgment, but now am beginning to see it as bias that in essence ruins our ability to make good decisions and solve problems.

Many of the articles for the class have this impact for me. Social Injustice for me links very well into poor decision making skills in business.

White Priviledge Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

MLK article from Inc

The MLK article from Inc., for me showed a leader who understood the war he was fighting, in his case a war of social injustice, could not be fought at arms length. The author very effectively described on of the great leaders in history, MLK, and made the connection between his ability to empathize with the people he was fighting for and successful business leaders.

It is easy to relate to the need of a leader to empathize with people he/she is fighting for. Seems like it would be difficult if not impossible to lead a group battling against a social injustice I don’t believe in.  I take that thought and wonder how many leaders are fighting battle in business they don’t believe in, and how effective can they possibly be at it?