Question: What kind of touching is considered “inappropriate” at work? I don’t mean sexual contact, but simply an occasional pat on the arm or a hand on someone’s back. One of our managers, who is naturally gregarious, received a formal complaint about this kind of touching. The complaining person never said before that she was offended, so how was he to know? My ownstyle has been described as warm and “touchy-feely.” Should I start being more careful? -- Concerned
Marie's answer: Generally speaking, touching people at work is a bad idea. Unless physical contact is part of the job—as with doctors, hair stylists or massage therapists—it’s best to keep your hands to yourself. Here’s why:
- Without psychic powers, you can’t predict how someone will react to a friendly pat. Outgoing people often view casual touches as warm and caring. But more reserved folks may regard any physical contact as intrusive and an invasion of their personal space.
- Managers must be especially vigilant about potentially offensive behavior. Because you hold a position of power, employees may feel obligated to quietly endure actions which they find distasteful.
- If your good-natured hugs and touches are misinterpreted as sexual overtures, you might find yourself slapped with an unexpected harassment charge. Both you and your company could then be held legally liable for your actions. (For a legal definition of sexual harassment, see the EEOC’s web site.)
- Going forward, try to maintain your warm and personable style, but drop any behaviors that are literally “touchy-feely.”
For a look at different management styles, see Do You Understand Your Boss's "Operating System"?
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/15690/whats-inappropriate-touching-at-work "