How To Be Fair In The Workplace: 7 Reliable Principles

If you’re looking for some strategies on how to be fair in the workplace, then you’ll love this article.

Fairness is a notion that varies depending on personal perspectives, but generally refers to a reasonable or impartial behavior. It is deemed as a challenging and admirable trait among individuals, especially leaders and in interpersonal connections. Although situations may not always have clear-cut solutions or be simply categorized as right or wrong, one can enhance their likelihood of acting fairly by granting others the appropriate attention and respect they merit.

How To Be Fair In The Workplace:

1. To ensure fairness in the workplace, it’s crucial to apply the same standards to all employees.

It can be challenging to avoid favoritism, particularly when one employee is more friendly or cooperative than others. However, it’s unfair to let such biases affect the treatment of employees, such as allowing a preferred employee to leave early while forcing another employee to stay late.

As a leader, it’s essential to recognize any unconscious biases and strive to treat all employees equally. If there are concerns about an employee’s performance, it’s crucial to have an open conversation with them instead of giving harsh treatment.

Playing favorites can lead to bitterness and negative attitudes among the employees who feel unfairly treated. Therefore, it’s essential to foster a positive and supportive work environment by practicing fairness.

2. To be a fair boss, it’s essential to lead by example and serve as a role model for your employees.

Your actions should reflect the values you expect your employees to follow, including hard work, enthusiasm, and the ability to collaborate effectively. If you contradict your words with your actions, your employees will lose respect for you and question your fairness.

It’s essential to apply the same rules and standards to yourself as you do to your employees. For instance, if you expect your employees to be punctual, you should arrive on time as well. If you reprimand an employee for being late while you’re always tardy, it won’t be considered fair.

Similarly, if you criticize an employee for not working hard while you’re frequently socializing or taking personal calls, you won’t be perceived as fair. If your employees believe you’re not being fair, they’re likely to harbor resentment towards you, which can lead to a toxic work environment. Therefore, as a boss, it’s crucial to lead by example and ensure your actions align with your expectations.

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3. To promote fairness in the workplace, it’s essential to establish clear rules and expectations for your employees.

Often, employees feel that their boss is unfair because they don’t understand their expectations (1). It’s crucial to communicate your expectations, such as production quotas or project objectives, to your employees clearly.

Writing down your expectations can make your rules more transparent, so your employees know what you’re looking for and can avoid guessing. Having a document, email, report, or any written material to refer to can help avoid confusion and ensure consistency in enforcing the rules.

If you need to change your rules or expectations, it’s vital to communicate the changes to your employees upfront. They will appreciate your honesty and perceive you as more fair. Clear rules and expectations can promote a sense of justice, ensuring that employees understand what is required of them and feel confident in their ability to meet your expectations.

4. To promote fairness in the workplace, it’s essential to avoid personal bias when making decisions such as hiring, firing, delegation of responsibilities, project assignment, or other workday activities.

It’s crucial to remain objective and pick the most qualified candidates, not just the ones who seem the most similar to you. Firing an employee based on personal biases is not fair; rather, it’s important to base the decision on their performance or conduct.

It’s impossible to be entirely unbiased, but regularly checking your biases throughout your decision-making process can promote fairness. If you find yourself favoring one job candidate over another, ask yourself if it’s due to their qualifications or simply because they complimented you more.

Similarly, if you’re dissatisfied with an employee’s work, question whether it’s genuinely their performance or because of a personal conflict. Checking yourself can help ensure that you’re conducting your business fairly and treating everyone with justice.

5. To ensure fairness, it’s essential to provide your employees with a platform to voice their opinions.

As a boss, you set the rules, but listening to your employees’ feedback can help establish a more equitable environment and promote a smoother running workplace. It’s important to find time to meet with employees one-on-one, ask for their opinions when necessary, and show that you care about their thoughts and feelings.

By doing so, your employees will appreciate feeling heard, which can enhance their perception of fairness. If you neglect to give employees a chance to share their knowledge and ideas, you risk gaining a reputation for being unfair.

Although you have the ultimate responsibility of running the company, disregarding employee input when you know they could provide valuable insights could be viewed as unfair. However, this doesn’t mean you should let your employees make all the decisions. Instead, take their input into account, but ultimately make decisions that are in the best interest of the company.

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6. As a boss, it’s important to acknowledge and take responsibility for your mistakes, even if it may be uncomfortable.

It’s unfair to hold your employees accountable for their mistakes while ignoring your own. Apologizing for your errors is a sign of humility and shows that you are willing to make amends for any harm caused.

If your mistake has affected multiple employees (2), it may be necessary to address it in a group setting. Your willingness to admit fault and take corrective action can help establish a sense of fairness in the workplace.

7. Apologize if you’ve made a mistake.

Just because you’re a boss doesn’t mean you never make mistakes. If you’ve wronged one of your employees, made an oversight, or generally made a mistake somewhere during your work day, then it’s only fair to apologize.

If you brush your mistakes under the rug, then your employees won’t think it’s fair that you hold them to a high standard while not being accountable for your own mistakes. If you’ve made a larger oversight that affects multiple employees, then you may need to apologize in a group setting.

Coming off as self-aware and wanting to change is far better than acting like you can do no wrong. If your employees see that you have a strong sense of right and wrong, they’ll think you’re more fair.

To be fair in the workplace, one should establish clear rules and expectations, avoid personal biases when making decisions, give employees a voice, apologize for mistakes, and avoid getting burned out from the effort to be fair. These can be achieved by writing down expectations, checking biases, listening to feedback, apologizing when necessary, taking breaks, and prioritizing self-care. Overall, being fair is important for creating a positive and productive work environment.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to be fair in the workplace. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here