CADDManager on August 11th, 2011
This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Principles of CAD Management

Fayol calls it Equity.  I call it treating people right.

His concept is not to just give people what they deserve, which is justice, but to give them what would be considered kindness.  This is being gracious in place of demanding.  Understanding in place of legalistic requirements.

Treating people and specifically those that work with you and for you with the utmost kindness and gentleness will go farther than strictness and no compassion.  It does not mean that you have no rules or deadlines or consequences for actions.  It means that you do have these things sprinkled with understanding, flexibility (at times) and a listening ear.

How this works out in the workplace is that you treat all people with fairness and kindness.  This is not saying that you are a cowering leader or a watered down manager.  On the contrary, you need to be strong and dynamic in your focus on getting things done. But not at the expense of relationships.  You need to balance your project focus and your people focus.

Getting things done and leaving a trail of disgruntled employees in your wake will make the next project even tougher to complete.  Getting things done on time by driving people too hard will make them reticent to work with you in the future. Not too soft and not too hard.  Kind of like the three bears beds.  If you are too soft with people, things won’t get done.  If you are too hard, people won’t want to work with you.  It is a delicate dance at times.

Being fair with people and treating them with equity and equality means:

  • You tell them what is expected up front.  Deadlines are defined.  Requirements are in place. When they join the team or effort,they know what is expected.
  • You should expect them to achieve what they said they would.  You may even define up front what might happen if they do not deliver.  You may want to let them know the consequences of failure to deliver.
  • You don’t change the rules without their agreement. Don’t change the process, deadlines, requirements or anything else unless they know about it and agree to continue.  Let them leave the team if things change on them.  Sometimes the deadlines change and it is not your fault.  Others define requirements and change them and you need to let the team know.  Give them a gracious way out.
  • You listen to the reasons people give for missing deadlines or under-delivering and then (like a judge) define what would be fair going forward. Yell at them?  Give them some slack? Take them off the team? Adjust your expectations?
  • You don’t play favorites.  Give the good task and tough tasks to everyone.  Do not give the new, fun stuff to your buddies and the harder tasks to others.
  • You are disciplined in your application of fairness.
  • You don’t expect too much from people who may not be able to deliver.
  • You set the bar so that it is higher than where people may be, but it is attainable.


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