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Chapter 10. Sexual Harassment > Emotional Intelligence Approach to Dealing with...

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Dealing with Sexual Harassment

Dealing with Sexual Harassment by a Superior

The first step in an EI approach to sexual harassment is assessing whether the offender is clueless, depressed and needy, a misogynist, a dinosaur, or someone who feels he has a right to the entire bounty of his company. Different steps are needed to deter sexually harassing behavior depending upon what is driving it.

If the offender is simply clueless, the path is relatively straightforward. A clueless person will generally curb offensive behavior when told that his or her actions are hurting you and seriously interfering with your ability to do your job. Be as specific about the offending behavior as possible. Allowing the person to save face maximizes the likelihood that the offender will respond to your complaint. Stating that you know that the person meant no offense, and perhaps even that you may unintentionally have sent the wrong signal, can help avert a polarized argument in which the person tries to defend his or her actions. If you back the person into a corner and attack, he or she is more likely to deny that the behavior was a problem or to assert that you encouraged the behavior.


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