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Topics: Ethics, Organizational Culture, Sustainability
Is it hard to be Fair?
“Being kind is very easy, being fair is very hard”
When I think about Fairness, I always ask myself If treating all people equally, is enough to be fair?
Moreover, being a project manager, operating in a disruptive environment, what are the triggers for us, as practitioners, to be/act in a fair way? Your thoughts?
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Gretta -

I don't believe there are triggers to behave in a fair manner - our default position should be one of fairness.

Also, fairness should go beyond just equality of treatment as we could treat everyone equally bad but I don't know that others would characterize our behavior as being "fair".

Kiron
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 9:56 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Thank you Kiron for pointing out a very valid point, of we are treating people in a good way, rather being fair... Back to the triggers, I believe that deep inside each one of us, we have the answer, of how to be fair with other, and we know if you are fair or not.
Speek with truth and candor.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 9:58 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Sergio, thank you for adding the "honesty" value to our discussion.
Gretta,

Beside the fairness which defined by PMI code ethic (both
Mandatory and aspirational standard-8-pages) ,the PM should be humble as people can be counted they are not just numbers.
BR,
Mansou
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 9:59 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Very true Mansour, the foundation of building relationships and growing people is being humble, and treat others the way you like to be treated.
Being "fair" is subjective. Far better to treat people with equal respect - leave fair out of it.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:02 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Thank you Peter, are you able to do that? is being respectful enough to grow people ?
Gretta, Thank you for posting this probing question. I see fair as quite subjective. When I am making a decision, I force myself to try to look at the situation through the eyes of different individuals. What is fair for one person, might seem unfair to another. Understanding these different perspectives can shed some light onto available options. When it comes down to it, leaders need to make a decision and move forward. I think that in order to have a "fair" decision, there needs to be transparent communication.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:08 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Thank you Valerie for sharing your thoughts. You reminded me of a graphic explaining the difference between equality and fairness, treating people equally means giving the same chances for all, despite of this is a good option or not, while fairness means giving different chances to people so they can all reach the same results. I agree that transparency is essential in all communication to grow teams.
So, do I make a decision on what I think is fair based on my experience or, do I make a decision based on what I think the other person considers fair based on their experience, or do I make a decision based on what society thinks is fair not knowing the circumstances leading up to the decision?

Make decisions based on facts and logic not some arbitrary concept of fairness.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:10 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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I think the answer is make decision that allow all stakeholders to have the same opportunities.
I believe treating all people equally is great for us, to be fair. Some of our decisions, maybe not true but treating all people equally make us respect ourselves at least, although we didn't do well.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:11 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Thank you Mohammed, so you believe equality has the same meaning as fairness?
Is it fair to treat people equally when not all people behave unequally? Take for example the hard working, high output team member compared to the socialite who rarely gets the assignment done and what is done is sub-standard. Is it fair to give them equal consideration for compensation or promotion?
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:14 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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I believe that there a huge difference between equality and fairness, the first being the easiest way to take a decision, the second much more difficult, because it requires more efforts from the leader.
I resonate the words of journalist Brit Hume "Fairness is not an attitude. It's a professional skill that must be developed and exercised".
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:23 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Thank you Eduard, I would like to hear more about this, seems a very interesting approach.
For me fairness is a distinct ubiquitous human value, an observed behavior of myself or others that triggers emotions.

It is one of the key emotions that determines lifes and drives our daily decisions.

I know a woman who became a teacher for handicapped because she was touched observing 2 handicapped kids in her class when she was 8-10 who did not receive the needed attention by the teacher. She had a drive to help (and now observe yourself, do might be touched by this story alone).
Movies use fairness to make you cry.

On the other hand an observed unfairness is the root cause for demonstrations, revolutions (remember the French revolution motto: liberte, fraternite, egalite(!)), terrorists. (do you feel anger, aggression when you see unfair treatment?).

Fairness involves a comparison and a strive for reciprocity, other than respect which is based on loss aversion (of a status perceived). It (as a feeling and value) has been developed during evolution as working together and sharing (with the trust in getting back in times of need) improved the odds of survival. It is not only a human treat, some mammals also exhibit fairness.

It is a key base of our society, economy, for money and trust.

Being fair can be hard, as this value competes with other values, which creates ethical dilemmas. The first step to make it easier is to be aware of your one feelings and priorities, be able to intercept them and develop empathy to understand those of others. Which is emotional intelligence.

I found the technique of reframing/changing perspectives/divergent thinking very helpful to become more fair.
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1 reply by Gretta Kelzi
Jun 16, 2020 10:19 AM
Gretta Kelzi
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Valuable participation to the discussion Thomas... Thank you for adding new perspectives to the topic "Emotional Intelligence" and for suggesting the techniques.
A very essential point in what you said is knowing ourselves, knowing our values, understanding the motivation behind the way we act is what makes us a fair leader.
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