Be understanding. One of the most important qualities of a fair parent is a willingness to be understanding. If you want to succeed as a parent then you have to make an effort to really understand what is going on in your child’s mind in his life at school and in his relationships with his friends. Often your children act out or misbehave for reasons that are less than obvious and you may need to work on putting yourself in your children’s shoes to understand where they are coming from.
Before you issue a punishment or make a new rule take the time to think about how this will affect your children. It’s only fair that you consider how they might feel before taking action.
Listen to your children’s needs. If you want to be a fair parent then it’s important to listen to your children. You may think that your child has simply misbehaved and may be feeling frustrated with him or her but many times the problem runs deeper than that. If you really want to be fair to your child then you should sit down with him or her and talk about what’s been going on and why your child might be acting up at home or in school. This can help you be fair and get to the root of the problem.
Listening to your children can also help show them how much you care and it will let them see that you’re making an effort to know what’s going on in their minds instead of just imposing rules.
Of course there may be some days when you’re just too tired to listen. Still make sure you can give your children the time they deserve and really hear them out. Put away your work phone or your computer and give your children all of the attention they need.
Give multiple children what they need. Being fair doesn’t mean treating all of your children equally; it means treating them fairly. One of your children may be much more outgoing than the other one may be more temperamental than the other or one may struggle in school more than the other. If you really want to be fair then you should make sure to give each child the attention he needs and to set rules and guidelines that are reasonable for each of them.
Every child is unique so treating every child equally actually isn’t fair. Instead pay attention to what your children really need and give that to them.
Avoid telling your children that “life’s not fair.” Though many parents tend to resort to this catchphrase when they are feeling frustrated with their children you should avoid this tagline. This sets up your children to have lower expectations about the world and can influence them to be more pessimistic people. When your child cries “It’s not fair!” Instead of simply saying “Life’s not fair ” try explaining the reasoning behind your decisions or letting your child discuss his feelings when it’s appropriate.
You should avoid saying “Life’s not fair” while also making it clear that the world doesn’t revolve around your children. You want them to feel that they are capable of reaching their potential in a relatively welcoming world but you don’t want them to be spoiled and think they can have everything they want either.
Make the rules of your household clear. If you want to be a fair parent then you have to be crystal clear about your expectations for your children. Let them know when curfew is how much TV time they get what you expect for them to do in school and any chores that they must complete daily. If you have set rules then you have to be consistent and stick to them making sure that all of your children are held to a certain standard. If you change a rule explain your reasoning so your children aren’t thrown off guard.
One of the easiest ways to be fair is to remind your children of the rules in your household. If they get in trouble for doing something that they thought was allowed then they’ll be more likely to cry “It’s not fair!”
If you have children that are several years apart it’s only natural that the older child will have more privileges than the younger child. Make sure that you explain this as best you can so the younger child doesn’t feel that you’re being arbitrary or playing favorites.
Be a good role model. In order to be a fair parent you have to work on doing as you say so your children see that your rules are worth listening to. Of course there will be some rules that you establish that may not apply to you such as an early bedtime but whenever you’re expecting certain behavior from your children you should let them see you demonstrate that behavior as well if you want to be fair.
If you tell them to treat each other with kindness but treat your neighbors or strangers with disrespect tell your kids to clean up while leaving your kitchen a mess and so on then they’ll be confused and will think that you’re sending a mixed message.
You don’t want your children to think you’re hypocritical if you impose rules that you don’t follow yourself.
Being Fair as a Boss
Hold all of your employees to the same standards. Of course it can be challenging to not play favorites in the workplace. There may be one employee who always listens to you gives you compliments and even brings you baked goods while another employee may be a bit more cold and distant. However this doesn’t mean it’s fair for you to let the nicer employee leave work an hour early while making the less friendly employee stay late. If you want to be fair you have to check your biases against different employees and make sure that they all get the same treatment.
Ask yourself why you really favor one employee over another. If it’s because you feel that some of your less-favored employees aren’t putting in the effort you expect then it’s better to have an open conversation with them about it instead of giving them harsher treatment.
If you play favorites then the employees who you don’t favor will think you’re unfair and will feel more bitter about working for you. Fairness fosters a positive supportive environment; playing favorites is discouraging.
Lead by example. If you want to be a fair boss then you have to be a role model for your employees. You’ll have to serve as a model of what you want to see from them in terms of your hard work your enthusiasm and your ability to work with others. If you tell them one thing and act in a completely different way then they won’t respect you and won’t think that you’re treating them fairly. If you want to be fair then you can’t be strict with your employees while going easy on yourself.
If you tell them it’s important for them to come to work at 9 o’clock sharp but are always at least half an hour late then they won’t think you’re being fair if you reprimand them for being late.
If you call out an employee for slacking off though you’ve been making personal phone calls or chatting it up in the kitchen all afternoon then you won’t be demonstrating fairness.
If your employees think you’re not being fair they’ll be more likely to resent you.
Establish the rules. Another way to be a fair boss is to make the rules crystal clear. A lot of the time when employees think their boss is being unfair it’s because they don’t understand his or her expectations. If you have certain quotas for what you want your employees to produce let them know what you expect instead of getting angry or disappointed when they aren’t meeting your expectations. If you have specific objectives for a new project write them down so your employees know what you’re looking for instead of guessing in the dark.
The more you can write down your expectations the more clear your rules will be. If you have a document an email a report or any piece of paper you can point to when your employees have questions about what you expect then your rules will feel less arbitrary and more just.
If you’ve changed your rules and expectations it’s only fair that you let your employees know about it up front instead of surprising them with the change later. They’ll appreciate your honesty and will feel that you’re more fair.
Don’t let personal bias affect your decisions. If you want to be fair then you have to remain as objective as possible when you hire new employees fire current employees delegate responsibilities assign employees to projects or just go about your work day. You can’t just pick people who seem the most like you when hiring candidates but need to pick the most qualified people; you can’t fire a person just because he rubs you the wrong way but because he acted poorly. It’s important to check yourself and to make sure you’re conducting your business fairly.
Of course it’s impossible to be completely unbiased. Still it can help you be more fair to get in the habit of checking yourself throughout your decision making processes. If you’re leaning towards one new job candidate over another ask yourself if it’s because you think the person is the most qualified not because he complimented you the most. If you’re unhappy with a report one of your employees turned in ask yourself if it’s really because you have tension with the employee instead.
Give employees a voice. Though being the boss does mean setting the rules if you want to be fair then you have to let your employees give some feedback too. Make time to meet with them individually ask for feedback when it’s needed and make a point of caring about what they think and how they feel. Though you don’t want to be a pushover listening to your employees can establish a more fair environment and it can help you run your workplace more smoothly.
If you make time for your employees then they’ll think of you as being more fair. Instead of acting like you’re too busy to check in with them all the time make an effort to get to hear their thoughts on how the company is running; this can make them feel better about being heard.
If you make rules and mandates without taking the employee’s knowledge and ideas into account at all then you may develop a reputation for being unfair. Of course sometimes only you can know what’s best for your company and you can’t let your employees run it for you. Still if you know an employee would have great insight into a certain situation and choose to ignore him or her that may come off as unfair.
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.
Don’t let fairness burn you out. Though being a fair boss is an important quality for keeping your employees happy and running your company smoothly one study shows that following “procedural justice ” which means removing personal bias from situations with employees making sure to take feedback into account and avoiding shortcuts and so on has actually been shown to cause mental fatigue for managers. Though you should still be fair you should also make sure not to let your desire to be fair lead you to feel drained or you won’t be capable of making wise decisions for your company. Being fair is important but so is taking time to decompress.
To keep yourself from getting fatigued make sure to get enough rest to eat rejuvenating lunches to take breaks during your work day and to try to avoid thinking about work after 7 pm. This can leave you feeling energized while remaining to be a fair boss.
Being Fair as a Teacher
Give everyone a turn to speak. If you want to be a fair teacher then you have to make it clear that you respect the opinions of ideas of all of your students. If you only call on the same three students or dismiss the comments of a student who is struggling more than the rest then you may develop a reputation of not being fair. If you don’t let students who are more shy or more problematic have a turn at speaking then they’ll be discouraged from participating in your class because they won’t feel that you’re treating them fairly.
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Keep in mind that allowing a diverse range of opinions into your classroom also makes for a better learning experience for all students even the ones who don’t contribute much. It’s not fair to let only a few of your favorite students express themselves.
Practice calling on students who haven’t raised their hands and asking what they think. Though you should proceed with caution with students who are more reserved setting this standard can make students feel more accountable in the classroom.
Be aware of how you react to each student. You may think that you’re fair in the classroom but when you take a step back you may see that you don’t react fairly to every student. Ideally you should be receptive to what every student has to say pause to wait for an answer from every student and give positive feedback and encouragement to all of your students. When you go home ask yourself how you reacted to each student and see if there’s anything you could have done that was more fair.
You can even ask another teacher to observe you to give you honest feedback. You may find that you’re spending twice as much time with some students and are neglecting others. Though some students do need more help than others it’s only fair to give all students some of your time and attention.
Find something to praise in everyone. If you really want to be fair then you have to learn to see the good in each and every student. You may have a student who does so poorly in the classroom that you may feel like all you can do is offer criticism but you should work extra hard to find something to praise about that student whether it’s his attention to detail or his ability to work well with others. If you want to be fair then you have to show every student that he or she deserves nothing but the best.
Take the time to meet individually with students and to let students who are struggling know that they have strengths too.
Praising students during class can make them feel better about themselves as long as you make a point of praising everyone at some point. However putting down students in front of everyone can be harmful to a student’s self-esteem and is not fair behavior.
Make sure you grade fairly. Sometimes it can be hard to grade fairly when you already have expectations for which students tend to do well and which always fall in the “C” range. Still you should work on reading each paper as if you didn’t know who wrote it and even implement grading rubrics so your grades aren’t based on your whims or a “feeling” you have but on the student meeting or not meeting a set of criteria. Grading fairly is one of the most important aspects of being a fair teacher.
Try to spend about the same amount of time on each paper. Don’t give the students with stellar papers more time than the ones who could really use the feedback.
Try not to pigeonhole students. A student who usually writes “B” papers is perfectly capable of getting an “A” and you shouldn’t make him think he can’t improve by not recognizing a bigger effort.
Know that treating students fairly doesn’t always mean treating them equally. Every child is different and has different strengths and struggles. When you impose rules in your classroom and address different children you should be aware of who they are as individuals while trying to be fair at the same time. Though it takes more work to get to know each and every one of your students as well as their parents this extra step is what can help you be a fair and reasonable teacher.
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For example if one child genuinely forgot her homework at home for the first time ever while another is having the same problem for the fifth time those students should not be treated equally.
Though you can’t make excuses for people when your students act out try to look for the causes of their behavior. Maybe you know that one of them is struggling with his or her parents’ divorce and is acting out because of it; this knowledge can help you work with the child to ensure his success.
Avoid playing favorites. Though it can be hard not to play favorites when you’re a teacher you have to work on eliminating as much of your bias as you can when it comes to being a leader in the classroom. Even if one student works hard and treats you very well you can’t let yourself shower praise on that student while neglecting other students that need your attention. If you have a problem student you should talk to him or her individually but you can’t let yourself be mean to the student in the classroom.
If you play favorites then you’ll develop a reputation for not treating students fairly and they’ll lose respect for you.
The children whom you don’t favor may feel discouraged from trying in your classroom since they’ll feel like they just can’t win.
Fairness is a subjective concept meaning a just or appropriate action. Being fair is seen as a difficult and exceptional quality in leaders and in relationships as well. Although the world may not be seen in black and white or right and wrong in all situations you can increase your chances of being fair by giving other people the time and consideration they deserve.