People are different, yet leaders have a hard time treating them justly. Most have a broad-brush approach that’s ‘fair’ and uncontroversial. And given that leaders are almost always in the spotlight, who would want to ruffle feathers or wrestle with other people’s opinions and judgment of their leadership in their right minds.
No wonder treating everyone ‘fair and square’ has become a mantra for most leaders at the top level. What’s ironic is that others still feel they’re not treated fairly despite their best efforts. It might not make sense initially, but think about it — how can one believe they are treated fairly when the slacker next to them is treated just the same?
It’s a problem. And most leaders are better off breaking out of it the soonest by choosing a situational approach than a standard one. The former leans towards a “different strokes for different folks” (termed “situational leadership”) method and might seem riskier than the latter, but it’s more effective in the long run.
Sure, people might leave you, but the performers will stay because they know that you value execution over strategy, politics, and grandiose plans that never see the light of the day. As a leader, it is up to you to walk your talk by treating people for their value to the organization.
Treating them all the same, will throw your organization, department or team into a downward spiral that’s often hard to recover from. All because you didn’t have the guts to tell the laggards and poor performers that they need to shape up or ship out.
Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?