Tag Archives: appreciation

Equitable Leadership – Worth the Effort

My last LeaderSips blog took on what I consider to be - for the most part - a lazy and unfair leadership style: the "equal" approach. And judging from the response, I thought the topic warranted a deeper gulp rather than a morning sip.

While the opinion that "equal is unfair" seems counterintuitive, consider this scenario: you have enough money budgeted to send 2 colleagues to a week long training course. If you ascribe to the equal approach, you will put all the names of your department in a hat and let fate take its course. This will not take into account your employees who have the skills and the interest in the course. Nor will it recognize the employees who have worked hard at bringing their skill set to the point that additional training will be beneficial. It will send a message to your entire team that individual effort means nothing.

But you can rest easy because you treated everyone equally, right? Um, no.

For those who fall on the side of "equal" I make this argument: every employee is not equal. Their abilities, attitude, history, and contributions are all different. If, by chance, you have two employees who truly are equal - then by all means, treat them exactly the same. This will serve you particularly well if your team is made up of Stepford wives.

If, on the other hand, your team is comprised of humans, you might explore equitability. Taking this approach means more work. It means spending more time developing policies that are flexible, fair, and reasonable. It means knowing the needs, talents, and accomplishments of your employees. It means you know who has made significant contributions and you know who is skating by.

Often the fear of a disgruntled employee making accusations of favoritism keeps leaders from equitable decisions. The good news is, we're not in kindergarten. Support your decisions with facts, not opinions. This keeps you from going on the defensive - and gives you an opportunity to work with employees who feel they have been mistreated. "Why yes, David, Susan is going to the conference. You and I have talked about your attendance record, your inability to meet a deadline, and the customer complaints we've received. When you have shown demonstrable improvement in these areas, you certainly will be a candidate for a conference."

The decision then is in their hands. If they opt to put in the time and effort that is required, they can be afforded the same chances as their peers. Equal leadership gives everyone the same reward, regardless of effort. Equitable leadership ensures everyone knows where they are on the playing field - how close they are to the goal line, and what they must do to score. As a leader, it is requires a great deal of work. But if you are asking your team for extra effort, shouldn't you be doing the same for them?

3 Reasons Why “Equitable” Is More Effective Than “Equal”

I once coached a rising leader who insisted on treating her employees exactly the same way. She couldn't understand why she had so many HR issues. On the face of it, you might be thinking, "well, come on, that's the best way to be an effective leader." I disagree. Continue reading

3 Reasons Your Employees Stay




Gone are the days of staying at one company to collect your 30-year pin and gold watch. So, what is it that entices workers to stay under your leadership? Continue reading

No Title Necessary

leaders influence
Of the hundreds of books that have been written about leadership, one principle remains consistent regardless of philosophy or style: leadership is about influence, nothing more, nothing less. The greatest myth about leadership is that one needs to be at the top of the food chain to lead.
Leadership is about developing relationships, which in turn develops the influence you have on a person. No matter your title or position, if you have the ability to influence the people around you, you have the ability to lead.
Not everyone gets it. Recently, I shared the story of a management trainee for a software company in New York City who sat around waiting for a formal title and promotion so he could “get stuff done.” Problem was, he had never managed to win enough respect or influence from the development team to actually do things. So despite being smart and competent, he didn’t earn the leadership position he thought he deserved.
How does one grow influence?
Manage your personal brand.  
If you show up late for meetings, are not in command of the information you are expected to know, and have a sloppy appearance you are not likely to gain much traction. A little self-awareness goes a long way.
Take a positive initiative. 
Instead of sitting back and complaining about what others should have done, consider what you could do. Real leaders don’t have time to whine, they are too busy looking for opportunities that can be executed into successful results.
Cast a vision. 
Everyone has a circle of influence. No matter how large or how small yours is, you can always widen it by sharing your vision and challenging others to help attain it.
Show appreciation. 
People have many options when it comes to whom they choose to follow. And they will give their best effort to those who notice. A simple “thank you” goes  a long way to laying the foundation for trust and eventually, influence.