One summer during my stint at baseball camp in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of Little League Baseball, the coach of our team developed a complicated spreadsheet on a legal pad on which he calculated every kids playing time over our two weeks at the camp. He used that spreadsheet to ensure each player received equal playing time.
This made sense as all kids were at the camp to learn and play to improve their skills, plus all had paid similar fees to attend. Not only did he treat all players equally, but in this situation it was also fairly.
The approach was both equal and fair, but also sacrificed overall team performance. Our team did not do well in the camp tournament the second week of the session. Likewise, if business and organization leaders treat their team members both equal and fair, it too will likely negatively impact the performance of the organization.
This baseball camp example may be the only time in my life when equal and fair made sense. On most teams and in most organizations individuals contribute at different levels of value and to treat everyone equally would be unfair.
In business, organization leaders need to be careful if they believe that treating everyone on their team equally is also fair. I’ve found this approach usually creates an atmosphere counter to what the leader desires. The approach builds animosity and resentment, not motivation and employee engagement.
Equal and fair are not necessarily two sides of the same coin.
Those that have more experience, skill and talent who apply it to contribute at a high level should be rewarded and compensated accordingly. This includes salary, bonuses, time off, schedule flexibility, etc.
It is fair to compensate individuals based on their value and contribution to the organization. I doubt that many leaders would say everyone in their organization contributes at an equal level. Therefore, it would not be fair to treat them equally with regard to the time, attention provided to them and their compensation and benefits package.
The challenge in most organizations is that leaders do not have effective tools to adequately measure a team member’s contribution. So, they fall back on trying to treat everyone equally, but this too fails to achieve desired results.
To learn more about how to create a Championship Team, download my free report “The Secret 6-Step Formula for Creating a High Performing Team That Gets Champion Level Results” available free at this link.
‘Til next time, make it a great week,