One of the most important concepts I teach my students and try to practice myself is organizational justice. I think fairness is HUGE. The two types of fairness I focus the most on are distributive justice – fairness of the outcomes – and procedural justice – fairness of the process or procedures used to determine outcomes.
Procedural justice is the more important of the two.
For example, research shows that perceived fairness of procedures used to allocate pay raises is a better predictor of satisfaction than the absolute amount of the pay raise received.
Here are some things you can do to improve your practice of procedural justice:
· Be transparent: Put ALL your cards on the table for ALL your people to examine ALL the time. We don’t trust people that we think are hiding things from us. And we don’t trust leaders that cut secret backroom deals with their favorite folks.
· Be unambiguous: Describe in simple, matter-of-fact ways what you want your folks to do. Make sure your expectations are clearly and specifically stated. For example, if it is important to you that your folks be “on time” for work, clearly state what you mean by “on time”.
· Be consistent: Now that you have clearly stated your expectations and policies, make sure they apply to everyone, all of the time.
· Be correctable: If for whatever reason your policies or expectations are not working, change them! Change them for everyone, and put it in writing.
· Be inclusive: As much as possible, make sure everyone that is going to be affected by a decision is given a chance to provide input. We can live with our leaders making decisions we disagree with – as long as we have a voice.
Remember, as leaders we are always on stage. Our people watch everything we do and say for clues about what to expect from us.
Abandon yourself to fairness – it will have a powerful affect on you and the folks you have been given the privilege to lead.
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