The vast majority of men I have worked with have been truly well-intentioned and respectful. So men reading this may throw up their hands and say, “I’m tired of talking about this and tired of being the bad guy.”
We won’t change things substantively unless we change our mind-set. When talent is squandered, when human potential is crushed, when someone’s spirit is broken, we all lose. When I counsel organizations on diversity and inclusion, I always start somewhere else entirely. As the statistics amply demonstrate, most of the money spent on diversity and inclusion training is wasted. I focus organizations on achievement and excellence, not sensitivity and “being nice.” Teams discover that to accomplish more and perform at a higher level, they need to include others around the table. When people learn that diversity is in their own self-interest, not just the morally right thing to do, behavior changes and real inclusion begins.
So, am I disappointed that our president does not exhibit role-model behavior? Yes. Do I detest the language he uses to describe all kinds of people, including women? Without a doubt. Does his language perpetuate and exacerbate long-standing problems? Indeed. While this is the unfortunate reality, the rest of us have plenty of work to do that can make a real difference. And that work will have a bigger impact over time than the president’s Twitter feed.