I had to be in a courtroom this week and one of the cases I saw was between two people, now divorced, and apparent child support issues with their five-year-old.
The man, who must have been in the military, was now unemployed as his program lost funding and apparently received little notice before he became unemployed. The woman must have also been in the military at some time based on the questions the judge asked. She understood the issues.
What impressed me was the judge. He was a leader. Sure, you might be thinking, obviously he is a leader based on his position as a judge. I don’t consider people leaders based on their titles, though. I’ve seen plenty of judges who I didn’t consider leaders. I’ve seen even more lawyers I sure didn’t consider leaders. The same holds true for presidents of companies. Again, I don’t think all of them are leaders.
Back to the judge. He had one goal with that couple and with every other case he presided over. That goal was “fairness.”
That got me thinking. I wondered if I am always fair. Am I always concerned with the people I’m with or do my own feelings and needs get in the way of being fair?
What about you? What do your people think about you?
One of my first lessons about fairness came from the wisest man who ever lived – Solomon. Remember the story about the two women who both claimed to be the mother of a baby? From the book of First Kings:
“One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said:
Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.
One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.
In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.
“No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive! “The dead baby is yours,” the first woman yelled. “Mine is alive!”
They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.” A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”
“Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”
The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.” Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.”
Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.””
Being fair – like Solomon and what I witnessed with the judge I saw. What a wonderful thing to learn. Here is our challenge this week: making sure that start to have the wisdom of Solomon in our business dealings when it comes to fairness. What a great way for all of us to improve as leaders!