No matter how much you try to be fair, odds are strong that you probably have some employees you jive with more than others. As humans, we’re wired differently – how we communicate, what we prioritize, how we problem solve, and how we manage conflict. We’re naturally drawn to people who are wired similarly to us, simply because we tend to see things from a like minded perspective. However, effective teams are made up of people wired differently – leveraging each other’s unique contributions, and sharing different perspectives. If you tend to steer more towards the employees you feel a stronger connection to, this can create dysfunction and a messy office politics situation that you would probably rather avoid. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid showing any perceived favoritism at work, leading to greater connections across the team.
One of the easiest ways to ensure no one’s playing favorites is to keep records of who gets which assignments. This allows you to rotate tasks in an impartial way rather than always relying on a handful of employees for big projects. Each CORE energy brings with it unique strengths and weaknesses. Harness those strengths and build the team around the tasks each person is naturally hard-wired to perform!
Another way to make sure everyone’s voice is heard is to create collaborative workgroups. Stress that these groups are designed to be democratic and ensure that everyone has input, and a place in any decision making. When groups report to you, be sure to call on different members for their thoughts. Some people need more time to think and digest information, while others are fine to be put on the spot for input. Be sure you know your team and engage accordingly!
It’s true that some personalities mesh automatically, while others naturally clash. But as a leader, it’s your job to build connections with employees with whom you don’t have much in common. Find areas of shared interest, from your families to your favorite hobby. Honoring each other is vital in forging connections. Get to know how they’re wired, and meet them on their level. You may not communicate in the same way, but you can always find a common ground when you lead from a place of mutual respect.
If you truly can’t find a way to bond with one of your team members, then try shifting your mindset. Rather than focusing on how you feel, put yourself in your employee’s shoes. Work to understand how they feel, and make an effort to converse in a constructive way that doesn’t cause negative emotions.
Keep in mind that fair leadership doesn’t mean that every employee needs equal attention all the time. Instead, it means that the way your attention is directed is based on the needs of the organization rather than your own feelings about different team members. In strong teams, different people take the lead at different times depending on their individual skill sets.
For example, you’ll need a particular energy to head a rush project that consumes most of your attention. Or your most strategic thinker might help you brainstorm ways to expand operations without going over budget. As long as your decisions are based on operational needs rather than personal feelings, you can avoid favoritism without going overboard in being “fair.”
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