Is the number of men who are afraid to mentor women really on the rise in the #metoo era? As crazy as it seems, a new report from Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn Organization says this is the case. Here’s what the report says, we'll discuss after the rundown:
--Their male bosses are avoiding 1:1 time with them, for fear of how being alone with a woman will look.
--This is based on new research released by Sheryl Sandberg's LeanIn organization which finds that "60% of male managers in the United States are afraid to do a one-on-one activity, and that the number of men that feel that way is on the rise since last year.
--Sandberg says senior male managers are also hesitating when it comes to business travel with their female employees as well as 1:1 dinners and that this number is on the rise since last year, up 33%.
--The obvious concern is already low mentoring rates when it comes to senior male managers mentoring women - and those rates dropping even further.
--This SurveyMonkey/Lean In online poll was conducted February 22-March 1, 2019, among a national sample of 5,182 adults in the U.S. ages eighteen and older. The modeled error estimate is +/- 2 percentage points. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are from the February 22-March 1, 2019 SurveyMonkey poll. Data for all surveys have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age eighteen and over.
How do you feel about that? I'm a guy, which means I should be careful, but I'm probably part of the problem if I'm afraid to share my opinion.
My advice to the men who aren't comfortable mentoring women is pretty simple. That vibe you're feeling in the #metoo era doesn't have much to do with the movement - it has everything to do with you.
If you've noticed women acting differently, being skeptical of you, etc.- it's probably time to take a hard look at your tendencies in meetings that include both male and female colleagues, direct reports and underlings.
You might be a brotastic mess. We get it, you're a guy. But if you're in meetings and all your small talk is with the other guys, that probably naturally flows into the work conversations when the meeting actually starts and work conversations are being executed. How often do you ask a woman in those meetings the subject matter expert over a man? How often do you make sure that a woman who's quiet and not participating gets a professional, clean shot at being a part of the conversation?
The answer is that a some of you don't do that. As a result, woman are likely to be a bit distant professionally from you. You feel that, and make the assumption that the distance is related to #metoo. Which leads you to report that you're really not comfortable with the whole 1/1 thing in the #metoo era.
Which is weak.
The answer is more engagement with the women on your team during the normal course of business. You're responsible for the distance you feel. Being comfortable in a 1/1 is easy - just go out of your way to engage with the women on your team during the normal course of business, and 1/1's will feel like an extension of that.
I'm far from perfect, but I know this. If you're afraid to do a 1/1, I can look at your meetings, conversations and more in public space and see subtle differences in how you engage men vs. women.
I'm just a guy. But if you defer shooting the sh*t with me in preference of engaging with our female co-workers before our meeting starts, you'll be well on your way to becoming comfortable with 1/1's with female.
Stop being creepy in your assumed stance of avoiding being creepy.