Perhaps an inevitable outcome of the post Weinstein world is that leaders and managers, people with power, are fearful of engaging in one to one discussions lest they be misconstrued. Many male participants in our training sessions talk about it being “safer” not to be alone with female colleagues, in case there are allegations of inappropriate conduct. But there aren’t just two positions on the spectrum – to have one to ones or have not! Leaders need to use their judgement and their integrity to navigate the current landscape. They need to think more about how these critical development discussions could be viewed through another lens –does the location, the closed door, or the timing in the day affect how others might “see” this situation? At byrne·dean we have always talked about self regulation – having some “rules” in place to help you have a greater perspective on these conversations. Critically we need to ensure that we keep these conversations alive, not bury them as “too dangerous”.
My NYC colleague, Elena Paraskevas-Thadani, has written a really great piece about the Rules of Mentoring relationships: