Does your boss know the importance of fairness in the workplace? Do you yourself know? Are you a fair person? Here’s some tips on how to be fair at work.
There’s a common misconception that fairness is only important from an ethical standpoint; that we need to fair simply so we all have equal opportunities. Fairness is significantly more important than this, however. Belief in fairness is an essential component of positivity and happiness. Here are some of the key ways in which fairness is important to mental health, happiness, social interactions and more.
Did you know these facts about the importance of fairness in the workplace?
- Research in organisational psychology has shown that those who believe the world is just have better mental health, more positive workplace evaluations and greater trust in colleagues. People who perceive their workplace to be fair are significantly more likely to be committed to their job.
- We are more likely to adhere to social norms and rules if we believe they are fair. Hence, fairness is a key component of the sense of social belonging.
- No matter who it is—parents, friends, teachers etc.—we are far more likely to see eye to eye with them if we believe they are fair
- Likewise, other people are far more likely to agree with us, and hence be on good terms with us, if they believe we are fair and just.
- Fairness is integral to satisfaction with and acceptance of a decision (whether at work, home or elsewhere). We are far more likely to agree to a decision, no matter who makes it, when we believe it has been made in the interest of fairness.
A Warning About Fairness
Whilst the above points are very true and fairness is doubtlessly very important, it is also important to avoid dwelling on thoughts and feelings about being treated unfairly. For instance, if we believe our work place has treated us unfairly, dwelling on that negative treatment will only lead to depression.
Three Keys of Fairness in the workplace and elsewhere
It seems there are three keys for successfully developing our sense of fairness. These are:
- Focussing on fairness in the world rather than unfairness (this does not mean to be blind to blatant inequalities but simply to focus on the positive not negative)
- Acting fairly ourselves
- Being aware but not dwelling on unfairness (it’s likely best to try to develop a sense of acceptance of other people’s personal bias, understanding it as a human weakness and letting it go. To hold a grudge or seek any sort of retribution is likely to end only in pain both for ourselves and the other party).
So, we have a good sense of why fairness is important and the keys to successfully developing our sense of fairness. Now we just need a few exercises. . .
Exercises For Developing Fairness in the workplace and elsewhere
- Be aware of your own personal bias. Be objectively critical of your biases. For instance, let’s say you are sexist. How do your sexist thoughts effect your life? What purpose does your bias serve? Is there a different and better way of thinking?
- Expand your horizons and open your mind. Look for ways to get involved with people or groups who have a different outlook on things. This will help reveal your personal biases and open your mind.
- When you feel you are treated unfairly, don’t retaliate, argue or simply walk away but simply express how you are feeling. Perhaps the person treating you unfairly is not aware of doing so. In this way you’ll be helping others develop their fairness too.
Your boss really should understand the importance of fairness in the workplace. If they don’t, share this post with them. Maybe then they will try to develop fairness in the workplace.
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