Everyone can think of a time during their career when the leaders that they had were not exhibiting the most positive or supportive of leadership styles. I have experienced several episodes of discrimination and harassment in my work environment; ultimately, most of them were resolved by communication and work by me and the leader I was working with. One such occurrence did not end with the leader learning to resolve the problem on their own and thus no closure was experienced by either of us.
I was working as a collector in a highly successful collection department at a large financial institution in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in Arizona. I was very successful and respected for my work ethic and results with groups of problem accounts. Ultimately, a new manager was hired into the department and introduced to all the team members. This manager was friendly, outgoing, engaged with the members of the team and stepped right into the leadership role. There were many encouraging meetings in the office and after work at more social situations with the team.
Inevitably, a team member advised this new manager that I was gay. While I have always been out at work, I rarely made a point of discussing my home life at the office. After being presented with this information, the manager’s demeanor changed overnight towards me. I was routinely criticized for tasks and procedures that I had always been successful at before, I was not invited to any outside work activity that the manager initiated, I was “written-up” for infractions that had never occurred and finally, accused of sexual harassment by another team member who I had worked with for years with no problems.
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...to having a cohesive and happy team in a pleasant working atmosphere.
Howell, J.P., Bowen, D.E., Dorfman, P.W., Kerr, S., & Podsakoff, P. M. (1990). Substitutes for leadership: Effective alternatives to ineffective leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 19(1), 20-38.
Lee, J. (2012). The effects of leadership behavior on workplace harassment, employee outcomes, and organizational effectiveness in small business. Ph.D. dissertation The George Washington University, United States – District of Columbia. Retrieved from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text (publication No AAT348943).
Mage, G.C. (2003). Leading despite your boss. HRmagazine, 48(9), 139-144.
Muller, J., Maclean, R., & Biggs, H. (2009). The impact of a supportive leadership program in a policing organization from the participants’ perspective. Work, 32(1), 69-79. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2009-0817.
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