The importance of treating employees fairly

Fairness

Few things affect people more negatively than the feeling of being unfairly treated and anyone who has seen children divide a piece of cake between themselves can see that it is the millimetre justice that matters. This is deeply rooted in our genes and is strongly linked to our own self-esteem and our sense of how we are perceived and respected by persons around us and what place we have in the social hierarchy.

The brain’s reward system is stimulated by the feeling of being appreciated and treated fairly, whereas the opposite instead triggers discomfort from those parts of the brain that are otherwise activated by nausea and unpleasant smells.

A classical psychological experiment involves two subjects (A and B). In the experiment, A gets a sum of money to share with B. A decides unilaterally how much B will get and if B accepts, both could keep the money. But if B does not accept the offer, both will lose their share of the money. Repeated such experiments have shown that at an offered share of less than 20-30%, the perceived injustice is so high that B would rather refrain from the money in order to punish the unfair behaviour of A.

If the original sum is say $ 4, B would be happy to accept an offer of $ 2, but if the original amount is $ 10 then the response in most cases would be that B does not accept and none of them will get any money.

Tabibna Golnaz and co-workers at the University of California Los Angeles has taken this experiment one step further and demonstrated that the activation of the brain’s reward centre in subject B is independent of the total amount of remuneration, but directly correlated to the fairness of the offer.

The described discomfort when we feel unfairly treated is the same as occurs when we are in situations of relative inferiority. As humans it is much easier for us to accept poverty if everyone else is poor compared to being wealthy if those around us are even wealthier.

As a manager and leader, it is therefore important that you are constantly aware of the devastating negative power that occurs when employees do not feel treated fairly and not appreciated according to their achievements. This applies not only to monetary and other rewards, but also to the extent to which the different employees get your attention and access to your time.

It’s human to feel more comfortable with some people than others, especially if they confirm yourself, but if the surroundings get the impression that you are playing favourites, it will bring jealousy and negative feelings.

It is therefore important that you consciously scrutinize your own attitude towards your various employees and resist the impulse of paying more attention to those you like most. Appreciation, rewards and promotion should therefore be governed entirely by staff performance, including their behaviours towards each other and external customers and stakeholders.

In addition to a better mood in the workplace, a fair assessment will also be a guarantee that it is the most talented employees that can make a career, not the ones excelling in flattering their superiors. Be especially observant on the more introverted employees, who may not be so good at “selling” themselves, but nevertheless can make an outstanding effort. Also, be aware that the most creative employees often are perceived as “difficult” as they, by virtue of their own ideas, often question the current order.

History has repeatedly shown how much more dynamic meritocratic societies are compared to communities where services are added after birth, family ties, population, gender, etc.


Source: Tabibnia G, Satpute AB, Leiberman MD (2008).The sunny side of fairness: preference for fairness activates reward circuitry (and disregarding unfairness activates self-control circuitry). Psychological Science. 19:339–47.

svensk_flagga  Detta blogginlägg på svenska

Vikten av att behandla medarbetarna rättvist

Fairness

Få saker påverkar människor mer negativt än känslan av att vara orättvist behandlade och alla som har sett barn dela upp en tårtbit mellan sig kan se att det är millimeterrättvisan som räknas. Detta ligger djupt rotat i våra gener och är starkt kopplat till vår egen självrespekt och vår känsla av hur vi uppfattas och respekteras av vår omgivning och vilken plats vi har i den sociala hierarkin.

Hjärnans belöningssystem stimuleras av känslan att vara uppskattad och rättvist behandlad medan motsatsen i stället triggar i gång obehagskänslor från de delar av hjärnan som annars aktiveras vid illamående och obehagliga dofter.

Ett klassiskt psykologiskt experiment involverar två försökspersoner (A och B). I experimentet får A en summa pengar att dela med B. A får själv bestämma hur stor andel B ska få och om B accepterar så får båda behålla pengarna. Men om B inte accepterar erbjudandet så förlorar båda sin andel av pengarna.Upprepade sådana försök har visat att vid en erbjuden andel lägre än 20–30% så uppfattas den upplevda orättvisan så stor att B hellre avstår från pengarna för att kunna straffa det orättvisa beteendet.

Om den ursprungliga summan t.ex. är 4 $ så accepterar B glatt ett erbjudande om 2 $, men om den ursprungliga summan är 10 $ så blir reaktionen i de allra flesta fallen att B inte accepterar och ingen av dem får då några pengar.

Tabibna Golnaz och medarbetare vid University of California Los Angeles har tagit det här experimentet ett steg vidare och visat att aktiveringen av belöningscentrum i hjärnan hos försöksperson B är oberoende av den totala storleken på ersättningen, men direkt korrelerad till hur rättvist erbjudande är.

Den beskrivna obehagskänslan när vi känner oss orättvist behandlade är den samma som uppkommer då vi befinner oss i situationer av relativt underläge. Människan har betydligt lättare att fördra fattigdom om alla andra är fattiga jämfört med att ha det gott ställt om omgivningen har det ännu bättre.

Som chef är det därför viktigt att du hela tiden är medveten om den förödande negativa kraften som uppstår när medarbetarna inte känner sig rättvist behandlade och inte uppskattade efter förtjänst. Detta gäller inte bara pengar och andra belöningar utan också i vilken mån de olika medarbetarna får din uppmärksamhet och tillgång till din tid.

Det är mänskligt att tycka bättre om vissa personer än andra, särskilt om dessa bekräftar en själv, men om omgivningen får intrycket att du har vissa favoriter så kommer det att väcka avund och negativa känslor. Det är därför viktigt att du medvetandegör din egen inställning till dina olika medarbetare och motstår impulsen att visa mer uppmärksamhet åt dem du gillar mest. Uppskattning, belöningar och befordran ska därför styras helt av vad medarbetarna presterar och hur de uppträder gentemot varandra och externa kunder och intressenter.

Förutom en bättre stämning på arbetsplatsen blir en helt rättvis bedömning också en garant för att de är de dugligaste anställda som kan göra karriär inte de som är bäst på att kamma sina överordnade medhårs. Var särskilt observant på de mer introverta medarbetarna som kanske inte gör så mycket väsen av sig men inte desto mindre kan göra en enastående insats i det tysta. Var också medveten om att de mest kreativa medarbetarna också kan uppfattas som bråkiga och besvärliga då de i kraft av sina egna idéer gärna ifrågasätter rådande ordning.

Historien har gång på gång visat hur mycket mer dynamiska meritokratiska samhällen är jämfört med samhällen där tjänster tillsätts efter börd, familjeband, befolkningsgrupp, kön, etc.


Källa: Tabibnia G, Satpute AB, Leiberman MD (2008).The sunny side of fairness: preference for fairness activates reward circuitry (and disregarding unfairness activates self-control circuitry). Psychological Science. 19:339–47.

united-kingdom-flag-1- This blog post in English

If you want to achieve something – decide that you are already there

On_the_top

Doubting your ability is often the greatest obstacle to achieving your goals. If you have already ruled out your chances, you will never realize your dreams. When you really want to accomplish something, you should instead decide in your mind that you are already there.

If you want to invent something, the first step is to consider yourself as inventor. If you want to compose music, consider yourself a composer. If you want to write a book see yourself as an author. If you want to create art, take the role of an artist.

If you do not really submerge yourself in that feeling, you will remain a temporary guest in the new reality and not really be at home. If, on the other hand, when you struggle with your first painting, you naturally consider yourself an artist, you will also become one, even if it does not guarantee you to become a new Picasso or Chagall.

Once you decide how you want something to be and paints this future reality in your mind, you have already taken several steps towards realising your goal. Not least, visualization helps to remove your unconscious mental blockages that may otherwise obstruct the way between you and your goal.

In her book Creative visualization, Shakti Gawain has described four steps how to efficiently use visualisations to achieve different life goals.

  1. Start by defining your goal, which may be anything – a new job, finding love, a good health, a trip. The goal should be positively formulated. Being slim is a better goal than less fat.
  2. Create a clear picture or idea of ​​how you have already achieved your goal. The clearer and sharper the better. If the goal is a new job, then you’ll see yourself in the new job. Imagine the feeling of going in there in the morning. See the workplace in front of you, talk to the new colleagues.
  3. Focus on your mental image often, but do it without effort. There should be no striving or frustration in the visualisation. You’re already there.
  4. Fill your image with lots of positive energy. Get rid of any doubt that this is your new reality – or something even better than the image you painted up.

By visualising your goals and making it real, you will more easily see the roads leading there and the sacrifices you may need to make on the journey will feel easier and more natural – for in your mind you have already overcome the obstacles.

svensk_flagga Detta blogginlägg på svenska

Om du vill uppnå något – bestäm dig för att du redan är där

On_the_top

Tvivel på din förmåga är ofta det största hindret för att uppnå dina mål. Om du redan på förhand dömt ut dina chanser så kommer du aldrig att förverkliga dina drömmar. När du verkligen vill uppnå något så bestäm dig i stället för att du redan är där

Om du vill uppfinna något, så är första steget på vägen att betrakta dig själv som uppfinnare. Om du vill komponera musik så betrakta dig själv som kompositör. Om du vill skriva en bok se dig själv som en författare. Om du vill skapa konst så tag dig an rollen som konstnär.

Om du inte lever dig in i den känslan, så kommer du att förbli en tillfällig gäst i den nya verkligheten och inte riktigt höra hemma. Om du däremot redan när du kämpar med din första tavla självklart betraktar dig själv som en konstnär så kommer du också att bli en, även om det inte garanterar dig att bli en ny Picasso eller Chagall.

När du bestämt dig för hur du vill att något ska bli och målar upp denna kommande verklighet för ditt inre så har du redan tagit flera steg mot att förverkliga ditt mål. Inte minst hjälper visualiseringen till att plocka bort dina omedvetna mentala blockeringar och låsningar som annars ligger hindrande i vägen mellan dig och ditt mål.

Shakti Gawain har i sin bok Creative visualization beskrivit fyra steg för effektiv användning av visualisering för att uppnå olika livsmål.

  1. Börja med att definiera ditt mål, som kan vara vad som helst – ett nytt jobb, att hitta kärleken, en god hälsa, en resa. Målet ska vara positivt formulerat. Vara smal är ett bättre mål än mindre tjock.
  2. Skapa en klar bild eller idé av hur du redan uppnått ditt mål. Ju klarare och tydligare desto bättre. Om målet är ett nytt jobb, så ska du se dig själv i det nya jobbet. Föreställa dig känslan av att gå in där på morgonen. Se arbetsplatsen framför dig, prata med de nya kollegorna.
  3. Fokusera ofta på din mentala bild, men gör det utan ansträngning. Det ska inte finnas någon strävan eller frustration i visualiseringen. Du är ju redan där.
  4. Fyll din bild med mängder av positiv energi. Gör dig av med alla tvivel på att detta är din nya verklighet – eller något som är ännu bättre än bilden du målat upp.

Genom att ha visualiserat ditt mål och gjort det verkligt så kommer du att lättare kunna se vägarna ditt och de uppoffringar som du kanske behöver göra på vägen kommer att kännas lättare och mer naturliga – för i ditt inre är det klart att du redan har övervunnit hindren.

united-kingdom-flag-1- This blog post in English

Att hitta sin Ithaka

ithaca

I den gamla grekiska berättelsen av Homeros så skulle Odysseus efter kriget i Troja segla hem till sin hustru och sin födelseö Ithaka. Under denna resa, odyssé, som tog 10 år råkade Odysseus ut för en rad spännande äventyr innan han äntligen kom hem. Liksom för Odysseus kan den kreativa processen vara en lång och bitvis besvärlig, men ofta spännande, resa mot ett hägrande mål.

Men samtidigt som det är viktigt att sätta mål och prioritera så är det ännu viktigare att njuta av processen. Målet ska finnas just vid horisonten, men seglatsen sker just nu och den ska vara spännande och meningsfull.

Om man bara blint stirrar på målet så missar man resan och risken är stor att man tröttnar innan man nått fram.

Den grekiske poeten C. P. Cavafy har i sin vackra dikt ”Ithaka” på ett fantastiskt sätt beskrivit essensen av att låta målet styra resan, men att utvecklas under tiden.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time.

May you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind —
as many sensual perfumes as you can.

And may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Dikten finns på Youtube uppläst av Sean Connery och med specialkomponerad bakgrundsmusik av Vangelis – en 4½-minuters upplevelse som starkt kan rekommenderas.

united-kingdom-flag-1- This blog post in English

To find your Ithaka

ithaca

In the ancient Greek epic of Homer, Odysseus would after the war in Troy sail home to his wife and his birthplace, Ithaka. During this trip, Odyssey, which took over 10 years, Odysseus experienced a series of exciting adventures before he finally returned home. As for Odysseus, the creative process can be a long and sometimes difficult, but often exciting, journey towards a glorious goal.

But while it’s important to set goals and priorities, it’s even more important to enjoy the process. The goal should be just at the horison, but the voyage is happening right now and it should be exciting and meaningful.

If you are just blindly staring at your goal, you will miss the journey and the risk is great to get tired and give up before you reach your destiny.

The Greek poet C. P. Cavafy has, in his beautiful poem “Ithaka“, in a beautiful and inspiring way described the essence of letting the destiny control the journey, but to collect a wealth of joy and experience in the meantime.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time.

May you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind —
as many sensual perfumes as you can.

And may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

You can find the poem on Youtube, recited by Sean Connery and with specially composed background music by Vangelis – a 4½ minute experience that can be highly recommended.

svensk_flagga Det här blogginlägget på svenska

The power of an inspiring vision

Vision_800x620

The world history’s most famous vision was formulated by President John F Kennedy in 1961, when he, in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the arms race with the Soviet Union, decided to go for a moon landing. His vision was formulated in a single classic sentence: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before this decade is out“.

A strong and inspiring vision that is communicated clearly to all affected can have a very strong symbolic value both to create a loyal customer base and to get the employees to feel that they together have an important role to play.

The vision should guide the direction of the business and indicate a clear way forward that can be guiding for several years without changes and adjustments.

The vision needs therefore not to be detailed, but it must be ambitious and something that one can strive for. The vision must also be in line with the core values ​​of the organisation. The vision should primarily affect how we look at things rather than how things are. A new vision is not a gradual change of an earlier vision, but should signal a break with the old and a new step towards the future.

A strong vision should touch the heart as well as the brain and strengthen the inner motivation of the employees – “maximum profit” is therefore not a good vision, even though it is the basic driving force behind a company.

The vision can also serve as guidance in delegating decisions to lower levels, and in particular, it calls for creative thinking and necessary risk taking among all employees in order to reach the goal together.

The vision motivates the necessary changes that constantly need to be made along the way. As long as the employee can clearly connect to the vision of change, it will be easier for them to accept and support the changes.

A strong and clear vision can in itself also be an important factor in why creative individuals actively seek an organisation and that those already present remain.

Although the vision may be ambitious, it must also be realistic and accompanied by sufficient resources to implement it. A high-flying vision without resources just creates frustration. Since most visions are qualitative rather than quantitative, the vision must be complemented by indicators or key figures so that you can measure success and preferably a timeframe when it is to be met.

A company that succeeded in formulating its vision is the American restaurant chain Sweetgreen specializing in healthy, nutritious and organic food. Their award-winning vision reads: “Sweetgreen, founded in 2007, is a place for delicious food that is both healthy for you and in line with your values. We use local and organic ingredients from farmers we know and partners we trust. We support our local communities and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We are there to create experiences where passion and meaning meet.

What makes this vision so strong is that it not only describes what they want to achieve or sell, but also why and in the last sentence of the vision, one effectively connects the heart with the brain. By eating at Sweetgreen you can feel good both to body and to soul and to eat well.

In a world of stiff competition, where companies struggle for their survival by constantly trying to be a bit better and a bit cheaper a short while until one of the competitors occasionally gets a head start, the answer to the question “What?” Can get a customer to buy a product occasionally. “What” appeals to our intellect and rational decision.

Next time, on the same basis, we can buy the competitor’s product instead. Instead, one should strive to give a good answer to the question “Why?” On the other hand, you can create a faithful customer group that continues to be loyal in both wind and wind. “Why” activates our implicit automatic thinking. This happens without effort and is strongly linked to our feelings. When something feels right, we will continue to go in that direction, even if objective facts are to change.

Simon Sinek illustrates this exceptionally well in his book “Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action”. In the book, Sinek uses Apple as an example. Had Apple been a traditional computer company, they could have said, “We are making great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Do you want to buy one? “. This sales pitch had responded well to the question “What?” And would surely give a lot of sales, but not more.

Instead, they say, “In all we do, we believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is to make products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. We happen to make computers. Do you want to buy one?

By reversing the reasoning and consistently starting with “why,” Apple has managed to create emotional ties to a large group of people who also have an inner driving force to think differently. The result has become an almost religious supporter group that in every mode chooses an Apple product instead of any other, just because it’s Apple.

Starting with “why” instead of “what“, you have also not committed to a specific product but can sell music players or smart phones with equal credibility. It is the visionary leader’s primary task to formulate “why” and indicate the direction and then work relentlessly by constantly reminding about it until it is in the spinal cord of customers and employees.

Someone must then also work with “how” and “what“, but in large organisations this can be done by people one step down the organisation. In many really successful companies, the visionary leader has worked in pair with the pragmatic and technically skilled implementer, such as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Apple and Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Microsoft. If you are a leader in a smaller organisation and do not have a doer on your side, you need to combine vision with an ability to analyse, plan and implement.

Detta blogginlägg på svenska