April 24, 2019

Stop Trying To Be Fair To Every Employee

Someone in one of my workshops asked if leaders should treat everyone fairly, meaning treating everyone the same.  My immediate response was to say quit trying to be fair.  As a leader, you must treat people with “respect,” but you don’t have to give them an equal amount of your time or resources.

Invest time where you will get the highest return from your investment.  Focus on people who have the ability to benefit from your wisdom and guidance. Using sports teams as an example, the players who master their profession are more likely to command more time on the field and greater investment to become even better. The coaches must decide how to work with each athlete based on individual relationships, the needs of all players, and the team as a whole. They know how to position their athletes and they don’t put someone front stage who can’t make a difference to the score.

Accepting that you do not have to treat everyone the same will make you a better leader.

When I am conducting a workshop, I spend more time with those participants who come with an open attitude to learn and explore.  Giving “showtime” to naysayers who publicly challenge me for the sake of proving that they know more about my topic is unfair to those who come with a desire for self-growth.  If I want to make a difference to the participants, I intentionally invest more time with those individuals who take the initiative to be fully present and contribute positively.

One of the fastest paths to low morale in an organization happens when fairness gives way to sameness; when you put everyone in the same bucket. Your best people will lose respect in you if you as a leader do not set expectations.  You will build high morale in your team when they understand their responsibilities as a team player and that you hold them accountable to the rules of the game.

Going out of your way for your best people (as well as customers) is just good business sense.

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