That’s Not Fair!! Your Voice & Your Health


The finding suggests that fairness at work is a crucial aspect of the psychosocial work environment and that changes towards greater fairness can improve employees’ health*.

But what is “Fairness”? Turns out, from this study anyway, that fairness is more about process than outcome – something called procedural justice. So, for example, if an employer announces a new policy in a way (process) that leaves people feeling considered and affirmed in whatever their concerns may be, in a way (process) that leaves them feeling respected and dignified, people are more likely to accept outcomes they may not even like. Take medical malpractice. Stuff happens in the world of medicine. And sometimes people sue, but less so when they have been granted the consideration, affirmation, respect, and dignity of an apology than when they have not. Process really matters. And it matters for our health, well-being, satisfaction, and productivity, as this study suggests.

Let’s just be fair then, for the good of one and all. But “life isn’t always fair,” you may say. Well, that’s right, we can’t always have what we want, but why can’t we be treated fairly in the process. “Because some people are just, well, you know, jerks,” you may say – and you would be right that we might want everyone to be fair and kind, even when, especially when, we can’t have what we want, and we can’t have that either, not all the time just because we want it. People are who they are for whatever reasons they are. But we can move a mountain stone by stone, have to start somewhere, why not let it begin with ourselves. Fairness of the people, by the people, for the people, and let it begin with you. We can create the world we want to live in one stone at a time.

Except, we don’t always. Mostly, we go with the flow, which could be a lot better than it is, if only we put our minds to it. One of the first things I notice and address in my work is how judgy and dismissive people can be with themselves.** Where’s the love? Where’s the kindness and consideration that makes our little internal world a fair and healthy place to be? Buried no doubt by this other harsher voice that thinks it’s the boss of us and everyone else. Doesn’t have to be that way. We can begin today to listen to our own voices. Begin to notice our voice in words and tone, whether in our head to ourselves or out loud to the people at home and at work. How fair, kind, considerate, respectful, affirming is our voice in tone and word, in general and especially in the conversations we may find hard. Yes we can modulate our tone and words to something more soothing for the benefit of all. Listen to the sound of your voice. Practice, practice, practice, and see what happens.

To work on this or something else, would love to hear from you. Write or call:

Email:  Madelaine Weiss

Phone:  202.617.0821

* “Fairness at work can affect employees’ health” May 10, 2016

**Examples and illustrations are fictional composites inspired by but not depicting nor referring to any actual specific person in my practice or life experience.

Copyright © 2017. Madelaine Claire Weiss. All rights reserved.


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