How is a house fair?? What correlation could we possibly make here? Well, houses are color blind, gender neutral and don’t care how pretty you are. They don’t worry about your background, or the amount of money you donate to charity. Houses just perform for you, protecting you from the elements and allowing you to rest and recharge.
Leaders should be just as fair. Everyone doesn’t get a trophy … but everyone should get a chance. By the way, if you haven’t heard Bruce Tulgan speak yet, at least buy his book. Great stuff. Anyway, fairness has many faces. Sometimes, in order to do what you have to do to keep the ship afloat, your decisions will feel “unfair” to some of your employees or vendors. But in the end, you are the one who has to convince those folks that you are being fair to all by making the decisions.
Just be sure that you’re properly motivated, and that you are taking into consideration everyone’s stake in the game, and that you’ve explored every opportunity to do what you need to do for the sake of the organization before you make a final choice. Get lots of opinions from folks who are affected. The hardest part here is to talk to several folks without actually committing to one course of action before you get all the information. We get excited…and we say YES, I LIKE IT…and someone assumes that you are going to do it their way. So take a breath and say, “I like it; I’ll add it to the list of possibilities.” That keeps everyone on the same page.
Sometimes, the roof leaks. When it does, it leaks on everyone in the house/room, no matter who they are. When you have to make the tough decisions, please be sure you’re evaluating performance, not likeability. As humans, we can’t help that tendency, but as leaders we can destroy all credibility when we are “more fair” to our friends or golfing buddies without sufficient corresponding merit.
It’s not always as simple as wondering if you can sleep at night or whether you can look at yourself in the mirror afterward…but that's a great start.
See you next time! Hope you had a great summer.
Copyright Sapphire Enterprises LLC September 2010