Creating fair process in leadership is important making meaningful change that promotes organizational functioning and empowers workers to do their best work. When workplace processes are fair, they allow everyone involved in the process to participate and have their voices heard. It also means that workers can be confident that their hard work will be recognized and supported by leadership and fellow team members. This can lead to increased creativity and productivity, and help you ensure you find the best solutions to your company’s challenges.

Why Fairness Matters in Leadership

No one wants to work in a place where their opinions or contributions don’t matter. American workers, especially, like to feel like they are active participants in the work the company is doing. They want to be able to express criticism and have it addressed by those in leadership.

It turns out, doing so is good for business. When decisions are based on fair processes, it builds trust and respect among coworkers. That trust is the foundation for a positive working environment and a highly functional and productive workplace. This creates an environment that allows for constructive disagreements and creative developments. In the end, building fairness into your leadership model will give your team the freedom to do their best work.

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Executing a Fair Process

Building a fair process for leadership allows you to prioritize authenticity and meaningful communication with your team members, managers, and fellow team-members. The first step of fair process in leadership is defining the limits and expectations for the change you plan to make. This starts by identifying:

  • The main problem or question you want to address
  • Company values or guiding principles to control any decisions to be made
  • Areas where you need team-member input or additional information
  • Who will make final decisions about your process
  • The timeline for any changes

Answering these questions can allow you to prevent “scope creep” and guide your choice to retain external consultants to help complete the process.


Creating a fair process means getting team members involved in decisions that will affect them. As a leader and decision-maker, it should be a priority for you to communicate with your team in ways that are empathetic to their situation, and transparent about the process. This includes explaining how much influence different team members will have on the result, and what parts of the decision-making process will involve team member input.

For example, if you are looking for ways to tweak your current process, a team member’s suggestion to rebuild the whole system won’t be helpful. However, by taking time to explain the limits of your process (how large the change will or will not be) and to listen to why the team member feels an overhaul is needed, they will feel that their perspective was meaningfully considered, even if the resulting changes are smaller than they would have liked. You may also be able to collaboratively identify smaller adjustments that will address much of the team member’s concerns.

Depending on the size of your organization, and the scope of the changes you are making, this is an ideal step where a business consultant can help. Many employees will resist openly discussing challenges at work out of fear that their opinions will be held against them later. An external business consultant can perform interviews and anonymize the data, so you receive the benefit of the criticism without worrying about retaliation.

It is important to remember that dissent is likely anytime you make changes. Making space to receive, consider, and collaborate around disagreements early in the process can increase team member engagement, and improve their buy-in to the final result.


Once you have received all the necessary input from your team members, you and your fellow decision makers will make the final choices to modify your company processes. It can be tempting to simply announce the change and move on. However, to make decision-making feel fair, your employees are entitled to an explanation for how the choice was made. This includes:

  • The context of the decision
  • The values or criteria applied
  • The process used to reach the decision
  • Acknowledgment for all participants (including team members who provided input above)
  • Anticipated challenges, risks, or drawbacks (and how you can mitigate them)


A fair process in leadership means you should not simply dictate changes and leave it to your team to carry them out. You should have a plan for how the proposed changes will be implemented, and how you will receive feedback about any unforeseen challenges that may arise.

Once again, a business consultant can help. Depending on the changes you select, implementation may include employee training or formalization of processes and procedures. A business consultant can help to bring everyone up to speed and receive any dissent or criticism that may result.

Fair process in leadership ensures that your team members are engaged and included in the decision-making process, without giving up control over the final decision (or the timeline). By committing to fairness in your decision-making process, you can improve your team’s productivity, creativity, and buy-in to your company’s new processes.

David Stanislaw is an organizational development specialist with over 25 years’ experience in implementing fair process in leadership. Through business consulting and facilitation, David helps leaders engage their teams in decision-making and implement process changes. Contact us to meet with David to engage in fair processes today.