I went to the bookstore the other day and picked up a book on leadership just to see how it compared to the Launching the Leadership Revolution book written by our founders. It was pretty much the same content as I browsed through the chapters until I came across the chapter entitled, “Forget about being fair.” So naturally opened the book to read the premise behind the authors’ words.
Often we as Americans live our lives expecting everything to be fair, and for people to judge us by a moral compass of fair play. And there is nothing wrong with expecting people to be just and faithful in our dealings. When it comes to business we all are looking for a good deal and expecting people to live by the fairness doctrine. Many people look at our industry and try and say that it’s not fair that some people have worked their way to the top and others have not. As you expose the business to prospects, you may encounter a person with the attitude that says I will join your group, and as long as you help me, support me, love me, and guide me fairly, I will reciprocate that same help, support and love towards you, but if you do wrong by me, I will do wrong by you. On the surface that sounds fair enough, until we take a closer look at the destruction caused by that thinking.
Let’s say you were at the altar with your spouse,and the vows read, “I will honor, cherish and love her until she does something that I disagree with, and then I will treat her likes she treats me.” Most of us would not have made it past the honeymoon with those vows, and here is the problem with that thinking. We are fallen human beings bound to make some mistakes in judgement, bound to ruffle a few feathers as we grow in leadership. No two people are perfect enough to co-exist in an eye for and eye environment. If I knowingly or unknowingly offend someone that I have a relationship with, and they respond in kind, then it starts a spiraling trend of treating one another as we have been treated(seems fair), and soon the relationship will be broken beyond repair.
Fairness sounds good, but we as friends and business partners must go beyond being fair. When we are offended or someone says or does something that we consider wrong or just stupid, it is the leaders job to respond better than they have been treated. The leader will often have to be the one to take the loss in order to maintain the relationship. The leader also has to inform the other party of the offense in order to foster a healthy relationship in which both parties are helping each other mature.
In a people business we have to go above and beyond fairness in order to achieve meaningful results. As we encounter people that base their actions towards us by how they feel treated, we should be careful not to enter into those relationships on those terms. Our Team is looking for an opportunity to treat others better than they could ever treat us, and when we institute that kind of service, people will flock to our peculiar environment.