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Perspectives on the Strength of Fairness

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Employee Engagement, Employee Voice, Integrity, Leadership, Psychological safety, Strengths, Wellbeing

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Fairness is one of the three character strengths that comprise the Virtue of Justice.

Justice describes strengths that help you connect in community or group-based situations.

What is fairness?

Fairness is treating people justly, not letting your personal feelings bias your decisions about others. You want to give everyone a fair chance, and believe there should be equal opportunity for all, though you also realize that what is fair for one person might not be fair for another.

Fairness is a cognitive judgment capacity that involves reasoning and making judgments. It involves 2 types of reasoning:

  • Justice reasoning which emphasizes logic and weighing principles to determine moral rights and responsibilities.
  • Care reasoning which includes empathy and compassion; the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.

When you are at your best, you use fairness to actively work to establish equity and respect for all.

Why is fairness of value?

  • Fair-minded individuals are more likely to engage in positive, prosocial behaviours and less likely to engage in illegal and immoral behaviours.
  • A sensitivity to issues of morality and justice increases self-reflection and self-knowledge.
  • Having a good moral compass enables you to navigate conflictual situations more effectively.

A couple of questions to consider

  • What are the circumstances in which it is easier or harder for you to compromise to try to achieve a fair outcome for everyone?
  • How do you reconcile your sense of fairness with the reality that “life is not fair”?

Some things that you can do to practise fairness

  • Consider ways to be fairer with friends or family such as thinking about the amount of quality time you spend with each person and making adjustments accordingly. 
  • Include someone in a conversation who is as newcomer or typically excluded from groups.
  • Be fair to yourself by examining the amount of time you spend on your own health and self-care versus time spent on helping others. Take action based on what is fair for both you and others.

For more information on the strength of fairness, go to https://www.viacharacter.org/character-strengths/fairness

If you are interested in exploring how the practice of Character Strengths might be of benefit to your business and culture, contact Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311 or at info@poswork.com.au.

Acknowledgement: the primary reference for this post is “The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate And Ignite Your Positive Personality” by Ryan M. Niemiec & Robert E. McGrath (An Official Guide From The VIA Institute on Character)

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