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Fair or unfair ?



In the corporate world there is one constant feedback for many managers – that he/she is unfair. Let’s remember that fairness is not objective. It’s subjective and each person’s sense of fairness is different. Then how does one treat everyone fairly and appear to have treated everyone fairly ?

Look at the current elections and now the exit polls. The minute the CON team is losing, it says it’s a collective failure. Till the minute the exit poll results were announced, the twit was projected as the messiah who will deliver them the third term. Now that is clearly unfair, to those that had no say in the decision to project the twit as the PM candidate. Some will also say the way Jaswant Singh was not given a ticket, was unfair. From Jaswant Singh’s point of view it certainly was. But look at it from BJP’s point of view – this man is not a winner, whatever be his age and unfortunately he doesn’t have a famous enough last name to be get a shoo-in.

An objective measure of fairness, in my opinion is, equality of opportunity. Do you provide equal opportunity to all in your team, do you let people disagree with you totally and still consider and include their view, do you treat everyone without discrimination ? Providing equal opportunities to someone you consider a threat and to your favorite sycophant requires courage, which is a competency that managers and leaders in the corporate world lack …. Not just the corporate world but every walk of life, courage is becoming scarce.

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Categories: Corporate musingsTags: , , , ,

6 comments

  1. Hi Bindu – You’ve raised a very interesting point here about being fair/unfair. In my career so far, 1 common thing I’ve observed with many people is that they take the liberty of treating someone unfairly, but in return expect to be treated fairly.

    Seldom have I seen people who apply a sense of balance here!

    Regards,
    Bala P.V

  2. Now, that looks like coming from your idea of the list of inclusive behaviors all managers should carry amongst themselves? Courage seems to be a very critical competence that’s lacking, Bindu. I was speaking to someone yesterday and was making a similar remark on courage – What if one had the courage to say and do what’s right and not think so much about what rating will I get, if I act differently than what I’m expected to – Now, that requires courage and I observe a lot of personal agenda that acts as an impediment to the functioning . Leaders may not be even aware that their own interests are being seen clearly by others.The question to you Bindu, then is . How do you provide opportunities for leaders to become aware and work in this area of courage and see the big picture?

    • The simplest way to create the environment for people to speak up is not punishing anyone who speaks up with a strong retort or throwing the rule book at him/her and actually ask people to debate things out. Inclusivity will not be operational if decisions are taken and then opinions are sought :):). Courage is also a function of one’s dependencies. There could be a large family that you are taking care of and don’t want to disturb your earnings – having no courage in this case is perfect. It’s people who have nothing to lose and still have no courage to stand by their values, are the ones who are true cowards. And that variety is the most prevalent :(.

  3. Thanks, Bindu
    I liked the way you turned it around to focus on the rot cause for the lack of courage for many. I agree that there is quite a majority out there (with manufactured notional losses list ) and use that as an alibi to not stand by the values. Thanks again, for a wonderfulr thought starter

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