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“Is your leadership creating a culture of justice and fairness, or one of confusion and mistrust?”

“Organizations that are willing to share, withhold in order to further the growth, willing to try to get a better atmosphere through a demonstration of fairness and cooperation, those will win in the end.”

E.O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

Justice means giving and receiving what a person deserves. Whereas, fairness is the ability to make judgments that are concrete and specific to a particular situation. Determining what is just and fair is one of leaderships’ greatest challenges on a daily basis.

When growing up if there was only one piece of pie left, Mom let one of us make the cut and the other choose the first piece. Oh if life were only that simple! Can you be just and not fair? Or, can you be fair and not just?

It is very difficult keeping team members energized and loyal if they feel others are taking advantage, regardless if that person is in the corner office or in the cubicle next door. If people perceive they are being treated unfairly, they will eventually stop performing, start imitating those they perceive are being favored or join another team.

Great leaders operate on principles of fairness because they know it inspires better performance, loyalty and retention. Honesty and integrity is primarily dealing with individuals while justice and fairness is about team dynamics. Work environments’ without both values are not a fun place to go every day.

Your job as a leader is to change that, If you don’t you expect a lot of unhappy campers and watch productivity drop. You cannot make everyone happy all the time. At some point, those who refuse to be team players must be let go. No matter how much you do for them, in their eyes it is never just or fair.

Leaders who do not lead with a basic sense of justice and fairness, soon lose the trust and loyalty of even their most faithful followers. Great leaders never use their position or influence to make and enforce arbitrary decisions for their own good or personal ambitions, but always do what is best for the team. If you want to retain your best team members, maintaining a work environment of justice and fairness is your best bet!

“Blessed are those who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Psalms 106:3