Good management is not about being fair
Posted by Meg Bear on October 22, 2009
I must first confess that fairness is not a core value of mine. I know people for which being fair is important, but I’ve never experienced or expected fairness, so I do not empathize that need. If fairness is an important core value of yours, it might be best to just skip this post and come back another day.
That’s not to say that people were especially mean to me or anything, it’s just that I’m the youngest, and in that role you learn rather quickly that life is not fair. You are slower, you are not old enough, you are not invited, etc. etc. Now, as a parent of two, I realize that fair is the least common denominator solution (and one I confess I resort to a lot more in parenting than I do in management but that is a different blog!).
As a manager, I do not believe that fairness is the goal. I believe job fit and outstanding performance are. To that end, I look to find what works with each person, and attempt to give them what they need to be their best.
Since management is about working with people and not robots, it is logical that what each person needs is not going to be the same.
When you come to terms with the fact that you are not attempting to be fair, you are let loose of a lot of unnecessary baggage with management. You start focusing on doing the right thing and recognize that what is right, can be different for different people.
Is it easier to be fair. Sure it is, but it is often much less effective.