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All Men Are Created Equal: My Manvember Musings

The statement "all men are created equal" holds true.


I don't believe in such a thing as "good men" and "bad men." But, in my 40+ years of business experience, I've discovered that bad behavior (among both genders) does exist, and it's our responsibility to point it out, deal with it, and attempt to change it.


For example, I once worked for a man who was a big bully. He almost made me cry (which is pretty hard to do in the workplace). He loved to point out gaffes in public. After all, having an audience is energizing for bullies. But, I scheduled a meeting, confronted him (calmly and rationally), and explained that his behavior was hurting my work performance because it was distracting and demoralizing. He apologized and ultimately stopped.


I realize not all stories have a happy ending, but I learned from that experience that dispassionate conversation can be the first step in fixing an issue.


On a happier note, I was promoted to Chief of Staff at a major brand while on maternity leave by a man who clearly realized that motherhood doesn't destroy women's brains. That was a tipping point moment in my career and I'm still in touch with my champion and mentor today.


When I look back on my (long) career, I realize that men have been as likely to be my supporters and inspiration as the women in my work. In fact, because more men are in leadership roles, we need them to champion us, so lumping them all into the "bad boy" category is ultimately counterproductive.


I recently hosted a Table for Six in which we spoke about hurtful things women do to each other in the workplace.


This month, let's get those conversations started with men too. Many guys aren't even aware that they "mansplain," under-compensate, or exclude their women co-workers at times. Only through frank talk and persistence can we start to get the issues out on the virtual table, change perceptions, and all try to become better versions of ourselves -- male, female, or other.

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