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Do you have someone on your team who is prone to comparison and scorekeeping?  Have you heard this recently…

It’s not fair:

  • She gets paid more than I do.
  • He got promoted and I didn’t.
  • She has a flexible work schedule and I don’t.
  • Their supervisor brings in burritos on Friday mornings and you don’t.
  • He got a new computer and I didn’t.

 If so, as a manager, you have two steps to take.

Step 1:  Support your direct report in taking personal responsibility for what they can control.

  • If you want more pay, you need to demonstrate an increase in your return on investment to the organization and then ask for a raise.
  • If someone gets promoted and you don’t, you should inquire into the factors that went into the decision. And then see what you need to do to be a top candidate the next time around.
  • If your position doesn’t allow for flexible hours, and this is important to you, then you need to apply for a position that does.
  • If you want burritos on Friday, you should ask if we too have a burrito budget we could pull from for our department.
  • If you need a new computer to better fulfill on your work, then you should request one.

Key point to make here:  Do not blame your co-worker for having what you want. Rather wish the best for your co-worker – including good pay, a promotion, flexible work hours, burritos and a new computer.  We’re in this together.  Together we create our daily work experience and share in contributing to the mission of this organization.  We should stand for one another’s success and wish well upon each other.

Step 2:  Be just, not fair.  Be transparent and share both how and why the decision was made. 

Don’t try to even the score.  Don’t try to make it fair, because you can’t. It’s never “fair.”  Nobody has the same life experience.  And as such, it will never be equal, or the same, or fair.  But it can be just.  And the easiest way to be just is to simply share why and how decisions are made:

  • Share how compensation is determined.
  • Share the decision factors that go into promotions (and how they are weighed).
  • When hiring, share the different inherent benefits and challenges of each position.
  • Share if there’s a flex team budget for each department.
  • Share the criteria that necessitates the purchase of a new computer.

Oftentimes comparisons and scorekeeping are rooted in a lack of understanding. If we have all of the pieces to clearly see why and how decisions are made, we may still want things to be different for ourselves, but we no longer make others wrong for having what we want.   And when we understand how and why someone received a promotion, a new computer, or a flexible work schedule, we understand the equation and are empowered to make it happen for ourselves.

For more on this challenging topic, check out Culture Works. Also available on Amazon.

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2.6 min readLast Updated: October 12th, 2021Published On: March 23rd, 2016Categories: Employee Retention Strategies, Organizational Development ProcessTags:

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