…You just can’t tell him much.” This well-worn joke seems to be more pertinent today than ever. Two realities running in parallel speak volumes of the times in which we live.
The President continues to push his agenda by “trumpeting“ tax reform. So far he has found it hard to implement much of his campaign promises. His travel ban has hit another injunction, healthcare reform has stalled (hard to tell where the blame falls on this one – but it is safe to say that if you are not part of the solution – you are part of the problem.) There seems to be a number of interpretations about what the impact of his plans for tax reform. As with any complex question, a lot of the noise about who wins and loses is raised to make sure that nothing really gets changed at all. The agenda and its progress isn’t the problem – the inability of his inner circle to provide him feedback and guidance is.
At the same time, there has been a stunning piece on social media – the message of “#metoo.” Hundreds of thousands of women acknowledging they have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted. Harvey Weinstein’s long overdue fall from grace has been revealed, not as a bad apple getting caught but merely the tip of the iceberg.
I confess I don’t support many of President Trump’s views. He is the President and our country obviously needs leadership. Let’s set aside political preference and look at the patterns that affect leadership. In this moment, as an older white male, I am wondering what am I doing or not doing that has contributed to a world where so many women are clearly suffering.
Imagine the two cultural phenomena as related. Trump’s reluctance to take feedback (or his team’s reluctance to give it – pick your interpretation) reflects his belief about what it means to be “in charge.” It means as the boss, my view, opinions, and reactions are valid – largely because I am in charge.
Women have suffered largely in silence because they were not. Many never admitted or disclosed the experience because they had no reason to believe they were entitled to better treatment, protection or safety. If the people in charge frame the world merely from their own viewpoint we should not be surprised that misogyny, discrimination, racial and gender bias continue and sadly, are a common occurrence.
If you are the one in charge – how do you find out about the experience of those in your organization – who have less power, privilege, experience, and confidence – and how they experience working for and with you?
What have you done to assure other views and needs get baked into your decisions and choices?
Are you using your power and privilege to satisfy your hunger or protect those around you?
This is not the aspirational world I was looking to live in so I need to rethink how I am showing up. You?