For months we have all watched with morbid curiosity as mighty male characters have fallen from grace. As the waiting time shortens between each Ailes, O'Reilly, Weinstein, Spacy, Franken or Rose, the new game becomes "Guess who's next?" It could be a slick-haired hedge fund manager, a scruffy-faced film producer, or a charming politician, but it's game on.
How many prominent men are losing sleep, drinking too much, and running the playback tape that might contain an inappropriate comment or touch in the past? Whenever an unrecognized phone number pops up on many cell phones, you can be sure it causes heart palpitations.
This routine of introspection is not limited to the guilty but also includes the innocent. It should also include women. Although none have yet been named as sexual predators, and a Google search fails to turn up a single recent case of a woman as aggressor, unwanted advances are not a single gender monopoly. Also, just because a women executive may have been a victim of sexual harassment herself, as I and most of my friends were when we were younger, does not mean that she is exempt from inflicting similar pain on others.
This thought and the pervasiveness of these incidents have led me to contemplate what I, as a female CEO, can learn from these publicized incidents. The lessons are broader than recognizing that sexual harassment is widespread and should not be tolerated in any form at my or any company. I need to replay the history of my own behavior to ensure that I have never mistreated any male in my employ, never inadvertently acted inappropriately, and make sure that I fully understand what this type of misbehavior looks like.