A joint post by Dick and Emily Axelrod
Have you ever had this experience? A red-faced, foot-stomping child yells at the top of their voice, “That’s not fair!” “Life isn’t fair,” you respond, “Get over it.” It doesn’t have to be this way. There is an alternative. You can say, “Life isn’t fair, but I can do something about it.”
Four steps to increasing fairness
- Involve people in decisions that impact them
- Increase information flow
- Increase autonomy so people have more control over their work
- Create situations where people can understand each other
Fairness impacts our brains
Neuroscience teaches us that people are naturally oriented toward fairness and compassion. In his book, The Neuroscience of Fair Play, Donald Pfaff shows that given the choice between a fair, compassionate solution and an unfair, mean-spirited solution, most people will chose the fair, compassionate solution. (The Dana Foundation) David Rock postulates that when people experience fairness, they perceive less threat and the innovative, collaborative part of the brain lights up. (Rock, 2009)
Fairness benefits society as a whole and the people and businesses that are part of that society.
Our society is struggling with the big questions, questions without easy answers. What is fair? What are we willing to do to increase fairness? What are we not willing to do to increase fairness?
We ignore fairness at our own peril
Do we always achieve fairness? Of course not, but that should not keep us from the task.
We ask you not to run from fairness because it is difficult, but to run toward fairness because it its necessary.
Rock, D. (2009). Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. New York: HarperCollins.