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Real Leaders Are Fair

by Miki Saxon

fairnessIs your company fair? Is fairness part of your MAP? Are you fair to your people? How often have you heard (or said), “That’s not fair!”

People accept that life isn’t fair—more or less. Whereas you can’t walk away from life, but it’s relatively easy to walk away from a company or manager you perceive as unfair.

What do people expect within the business world in terms of fairness?

The obvious is that they don’t want to be shafted a la Enron. However, fairness refers to more than the obvious, most often to the company/manager doing what they said they would do, i.e., walking their talk.

Fairness is what people want and fairness is what most companies/managers promise—but frequently don’t provide. For example:

Fairness excludes politics

  • Official – people will be promoted based on what they do
  • De facto – people are promoted based on who they know

Fairness is egalitarian

  • Official – everybody will fly economy class when traveling
  • De facto – senior management flies first class

Fairness includes parity

  • Official – similar skills are compensated similarly with any differences the result of merit
  • De facto – compensation differences result from expediency, prejudice, or favoritism

Besides doing ‘the right thing’, why be fair? What’s in it for you?

Quite a lot, actually.

Fairness reduces turnover (and its associated costs), increases productivity, and fuels innovation, all of which makes you look good as a manager and gives your company a good street rep. Yes, companies have street reps, too, and those reputations have a major impact on the caliber of people applying; a rep that is positive for fairness makes it easier to higher great people.

All this means better reviews, increased compensation, a reputation that’s pure gold and a great night’s sleep.

What’s not to like? And all you have to do is do as you say you will.

Please join me Monday to learn why fairness is monkey business.

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Image credit: RachelH on flickr

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4 Responses to “Real Leaders Are Fair”
  1. Praveen SharmaNo Gravatar Says:

    If only all managers could understand the wisdom in being fair. Partly, we are the products of our upbringing and partly of the environment. What seems obviously good to A might be obviously bad for B.

    Negative managers require as much training as they require counseling. Attitudes make us, and we see the world as a reflection of our inner self.

    This is not to justify the negative behavior of prejudiced managers, but only trying to understand the genesis of the problem.

  2. Miki SaxonNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Praveen, absorbing wisdom has always been elusive. What you refer to as “a reflection of our inner self” I call MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) and you are 100% correct that it is the source of all our actions and reactions. MAP can change, but only if the individual chooses to change, nothing can force it.

    Thanks for visiting and taking time to add your thoughts; I hope you’ll come back often and continue to do so.

  3. Inflexion Point » Blog Archive » The December Leadership Development Carnival Says:

    [...] Miki Saxon of Leadership Turn provides a simple truth in Real Leaders Are Fair. [...]

  4. December Leadership Development Carnival : Leadership Turn - Articles, tips, and resources about leadership. Says:

    [...] Miki Saxon of Leadership Turn provides a simple truth in Real Leaders Are Fair. [...]

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