Treat All Employees with Fairness

 

 
 
 

Gary Ludwig, MS, EMT-P | From the May 2014 Issue | Friday, May 2, 2014


Being fair to your employees is easier said than done. Some work their tails off, follow the rules, love the profession and are all-around nice people. Others are lazy, self-centered, get by doing the minimal amount of work, use their sick leave as soon as they accrue it, and generally just skate through the job.

Is it possible to treat both employee types the same way? You can, but it’s hard.

Employees want to be personally treated with special considerations but also want other employees to be treated according to the rules. Most also like when another is disciplined, as it makes for good gossip. Who doesn’t want to get let off with a warning after getting pulled over by a police officer for speeding, but doesn’t have a problem letting out a little smile when the red Corvette that sped past us like we were standing still gets pulled over? It’s your job is to treat all employees as if they’re driving the same car.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30+ years in leadership positions, it’s that I can’t make all my employees happy all the time. This is an undisputable and irrefutable fact. Even if you do treat everyone fairly, someone will always think another employee is getting something they aren’t. This can cause them to harbor resentment, which you likely won’t realize since they dare not say anything to you.

The only thing you can do is remain ethical and continue to treat people equally. Let’s say you have a policy in your EMS organization that three tardies results in a disciplinary action, and someone has just arrived late for a third day. This isn’t one of your model employees, so you’re not feeling too bad about what you’re doing.

You pull the employee into your office, discuss their poor scheduling habits, talk about what might be causing the tardies, and give them ideas about correcting the behavior to make sure they arrive on time. At the end, you pull out a written reprimand for them to sign, acknowledging they received it.

Two weeks later, however, one of your best employees who works hard, shows up to work an hour early, and never causes a problem starts to have some car trouble. This model employee talks to you about the problems they’re having with the car and his plans to have it fixed on his time off. But before he can get it fixed, he manages to accrue three tardies.

You look the other way since you know their tardiness is legitimate and not a result of oversleeping or leaving for work late, and he isn’t disciplined.

You haven’t set yourself up for failure, but you’ve let your emotions and subjectivity override your job as a manager. You’ve removed all objectivity from what you’re supposed to be doing: providing leadership for your organization.

As much as we would like to treat our best and most diligent employees with a different set of rules, we can’t. Remember, you must treat all employees as if they’re driving the same car, even if that car breaks down. However, you can certainly help them. For example, maybe you can help the employee with car problems by following them to the mechanic and giving them a ride home after they drop it off.

Treating employees differently is also a dangerous area if you have a diverse workforce and some of your employees fall into protected classes. They’re certainly within their right to file a charge of employment discrimination if they’re receiving different treatment than others and
feel shortchanged.

Most people like to be liked, and even managers can’t escape this normal human condition of wanting to be thought of fondly. But leadership isn’t a popularity contest. The best course of action is treating all employees as fairly as possible. It may not feel the best at the time, but it will certainly save you frustrations down the line.

Mobile Category: 
Administration and Leadership



Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Administration and Leadership, Leadership and Professionalism, fairness, equality, ems leaders, employees, discipline, Jems Leadership Sector

 
Author Thumb

Gary Ludwig, MS, EMT-P

is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis (TN) Fire Department. He has over 35 years of fire, EMS, and rescue experience. He is also the immediate past Chair of the EMS Section for the IAFC. He can be reached at www.garyludwig.com.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Austin-Travis County Community Health Paramedic Program

Overview of program provides operation and referral details.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Flight Paramedic’s Perfect Weekend

Carilion Lifeguard Flight Paramedic shares what would make his perfect weekend.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Honolulu EMS Pilot Program

New program tests change in shift schedule for EMTs and Paramedics.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On August 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >