Working definition of this leadership concept:
To be impartial is one expression of loving your neighbor as yourself.
It means to not base decisions on assumptions or prejudice but on God’s wisdom (James 3:17).
To be impartial is to not favor one person over another.
Benefits for leaders who are impartial:
1. Being impartial allows leaders to benefit from the gifts and perspectives of all, not just the influential few.
2. Leaders who do not show favoritism avoid creating division amongst the team because of unfair treatment.
Benefits for the community where leaders are impartial:
1. Impartial leaders help create a culture where all are respected and honored.
2. Team members are encouraged because their ideas, contributions and perspectives will be fairly considered.
Biblical inspiration and support:
As I read over the New Testament looking for teaching and models that would inspire leadership principles, I noticed that impartiality turned up again and again as a characteristic of God Himself:
Both of these two examples shows that God shows no partiality based on ethnicity or nationality.
These two examples show we are not to show partiality based on socio-economic level, vocation, status or wealth.
This example really sums it up; whatever reason society may give a person more influence than another – that reason does not hold up among God’s people because God himself shows no partiality.
As leaders we have both the opportunity and responsibility to receive all people in the same way. As servants of the Lord, our leadership is to reflect the character of God.
One of my greatest lessons on impartiality came through being parented along with a disabled sibling. Even though our physical abilities were different we each were given responsibilities around the house. My mom went out of the way to make sure we both had chores and that we both were rewarded for our contributions to the family. My parents were strict and we both faced discipline if we broke house rules. Even though our abilities were different, we were treated fairly. We both were valued members of the household, expected to contribute to the good of the household, held to the standards of conduct of the household and were to enjoy the blessings of the household.
Take some time this week to consider the people on your team.
Who is the most influential? Why are they the most influential? Is it fair?
As you reflect, have you been showing favoritism in your leadership? Do you need to apologize to anyone? Make it right? Change paths?
As you consider people you are going to invite to the team or those you will promote take a minute to consider how you select candidates. Is there a way you could remove favoritism and make the system more just to all people?
Sticky Note Brainstorm
One way I have seen leaders reduce the effects of favoritism and give people more equal influence in team meetings is by using a sticky note system. Every team member is given the same amount of sticky notes. The topics are put up on the white board and everyone can anonymously add their ideas and solutions using their sticky notes. Then each member is given the same amount of votes to vote for their favorite ideas. Each team member can give all their votes to one sticky note idea/solution or then can give each of their votes to a different one. Then the votes are tallied for the winning ideas. This process removes some of the partiality leaders and members show one another.
A parting word on impartiality:
Impartial leaders value and respect all members of the community equally.
Comments: What have you seen leaders do to create fair team environments?
Hi! I'm Jeri Howe.
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