Equality In The Workplace: Play By The Rules

Equality In The Workplace: Play By The Rules

Equality in the workplace is a hot potato that the majority of politicians and corporate executives more often than not give only lip service to keep their name in good standing.

Employee Rights Amendment – A Hot Potato

You know what transpires with hot potatoes.  As we witnessed the Employee Rights Amendment,  clear, concise, and brief it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification. The ERA failed to receive the requisite number of ratifications (38) before the final deadline mandated by Congress of June 30, 1982, and so it was not adopted. A major factor in the amendment’s defeat was Phyllis Schlafly, who mobilized conservatives to oppose it. Notice that a woman mobilized a group to oppose it and on the strength of unity the opposition to the amendment prevailed.

I am convinced the ERA issue needs to be taken out of the political arena, because expecting change to be made in the political arena allows others—i.e. power brokers to control your destiny on two fronts instead of one.

Legislating Behavior:

Legislating behavior to create equality in the workplace or demanding that something be given is anathema to human nature. If you demand something, you are approaching the situation from an “I win, you lose” position. People resent being told what to do and how to behave, yet, the first approach to any situation is doing just that.

Successful leaders know that in order to achieve  goals they need to negotiate a team atmosphere to create win/win solutions. Making demands or legislating behavior is polar opposite to negotiation; it is dictating. People are more eager to negotiate when they perceive that a negotiation will net a win for themselves—i.e. What’s in it for me? WIFFM.

To achieve  equality, society, management and individuals need to approach issues with how others will benefit. Because the cultural norm has instituted them against those—i.e. adversarial; the approach is that they ‘should’ give us our due. Thus, women do not recognize when and how men are being their advocates.

Non-discrimination laws have succeeded only as far as those in power have wanted them to succeed. The major outcome of non-discrimination legislation has been a deepening of discrimination on many levels.  http://bit.ly/GRHp3e

A study revealed that many companies rely on search firms to carry out their discriminatory activities. When the going gets tough, many women scream ‘discrimination.’ There is discrimination. However, work success is seldom a piece of cake for men. No one handed them high-level positions; they worked diligently to achieve the goal.

Women achieve what they desire, when they make the decision: to take risks, to fail, to succeed and accept full responsibility for their successes and failures. From the beginning of time, men have accepted rules by which the game is played.

From the beginning of time women have relied on men’s physical strength for protection from the seamy aspects of life, including physical safety. This protection is no longer needed; however, many women are conditioned and indoctrinated to expect to be protected by men both in and out of the workplace. Women want men to change the rules, to protect them from the rough-tough play of the work game.

Play By The Rules:

In any game or sport, the team concept is what gives the ultimate power to individuals. Men are acculturated to join ranks to win. The majority of women are acculturated to ‘go it’ alone—to beat out their opponent. Thus, women seldom join ranks with either men or women. They are outside the rules or positions in the work game.

Men know that each person has a position to play—positions such as: Front Person, Straw Person, Hit Person, Yes Person, Gadfly and Scapegoat. In playing the work game, they are loyal to the team. If men do not like what they are doing, they play the game better than the other players and win a position, they negotiate a better position, or they quit. Good team players are taken care of and rewarded; poor team players are avoided or used in minor positions.

Until women join together; joining ranks with each other and with men; only a few will achieve major positions. When one does not have a significant position to play, they do not have the power to win the big prizes; such as CEO or Chairperson. Although, many women have achieved high level positions in government and the private sector the statistical numbers are small in comparison to men.

Women currently hold 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO roles and 4.2 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO roles. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, January 2013.  Women hold only 14% to 16% of the seats on audit, compensation and nominating committees. Even fewer women chair the board or audit committee, serve as financial experts, and only 12% of compensation committees have a female chair.

The Rules Control The Game And Its Rewards:

In the meantime, women need to accept the fact that those who control the rules control the game and its rewards. Attention to the following rules will shift the outcome in the workplace.

  • Join ranks with women and men; play by the rules.
  • Take charge of your life, both personal and professional; take responsibility for your decisions, successes and failures.
  • Maintain loyalty unless the situation is untenable; if it is leave quietly or become a whistle blower. Reference:  Sherron Watkins, Vice President of Corporate Development at the Enron Corporation. She is the whistleblower who helped to uncover the Enron scandal in 2001. Watkins testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate at the beginning of 2002. Watkins was selected as one of three “People of the Year 2002″ by Time. (The two other whistleblowers who joined her as “People of the Year” were Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom and Coleen Rowley of the FBI.)
  • Stop blaming men or discrimination for your failures or for preventing you from achieving your desires and what you deserve. Life is challenging  for everyone; there are no free lunches.
  • Develop your personal power and stop looking to be rescued by legislation or the corporate system when the going gets tough.
  • Recognize that you have the power to achieve what you desire. No one has the power to stop you; the most anyone can do is slow your momentum.
  • To achieve equality or any other goal, work smarter within the system that exists. Then, change the system when you are in power.

Equality is a birthright. Claim yours.