Why you need to pick favourites and be unfair
Whether leading a team at work, coaching a sports team, or parenting, it is important to play favourites and to not treat each person the same.
In his powerful seven-day leadership training program, Linton Sellen points out that each of us has certain aptitudes – the innate ability to do something well. Sellen also points out that those with a particular aptitude will learn a new skill in that area much faster than someone without the same aptitude.
The best way to evaluate aptitude is to train someone in the required skills and see how quickly they learn. If they don’t progress quickly, there are two possible reasons why:
- they don’t have aptitude in the area; or
- the training is bad.
With limited time and budget for training, we cannot keep working with someone indefinitely under the assumption that they will eventually “get it”. This is a bad assumption. While you waste time and money, you might also be demotivating an employee who has much to offer your organization in another area.
Good leaders will move people away from areas of low aptitude and towards areas of higher aptitude. Being “fair” as a leader means treating each person differently. If that is labelled unfair or playing favourites by some, that is OK. This is how all great leaders, coaches, and parents help each person be their best and help the team succeed overall.
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