Columns
Give fairness a chance
Winslow Wong | 01 Sep 2017 00:30
Growing up, I often heard adults saying life isn’t always fair, and it stuck with me into adulthood. So, when I started working, it didn’t surprise me when I saw all manner of injustice in life, specifically at work. I too had suffered my fair (or unfair) share of workplace injustices. Once I went home early with a raging headache and a dull thumping in my chest because of what I had to deal with – taking orders from four persons, three of whom had no direct reporting authority over me, at least from what I inferred from the company’s organisational chart.

Workplace injustices exist in almost every organisation. They refer to any form of unfair treatment of employees or actions that result from bad management practices, including failure to follow rules, regulations, processes and procedures. Employees generally view workplace injustices negatively because they’re associated with undesirable things like favouritism, discrimination, harassment and bullying. Business owners and management should never treat such injustices lightly as they can cause employee resentment and even significant psychological distress.

I believe fairness is smart management. As a manager, you should not only be fair but seen to be fair in what you do and say. Treat every team member with respect and in a fair and open manner. One common injustice often cited by employees is favouritism. While it’s natural for you to like certain individuals more than others, treating direct reports differently – and especially playing favourites – is unwise and unfair. No matter how fair you think you are, when you favour one employee over another, staff morale and productivity suffer. The danger is that you’re laying a foundation for creating a dysfunctional team, which will eventually reflect badly on your leadership – or the lack of it.

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