One observation that I have made with direct reports is that they want to be treated with a gentler hand when they mess up, but conversely, when someone else messes up, they want them dealt with in the strictest fashion. The offending party should be punished.
Similarly, managers often treat their direct reports with a gentler hand, but when someone in another department makes a mistake, especially if that causes more work for someone in their group, that person should be reprimanded immediately.
I try not to get emotional about problems, so I get a chance to observe this all of the time, and I happens at all levels of organizations across all lines. I’m not naive enough to think that life is fair, especially in the corporate world, but this has never seemed right to me.
If we expect to be treated a certain way, aren’t others entitled to similar treatment? If we deal with our employees a certain way, shouldn’t other managers be able to deal with their employees in a similar fashion?
I am not advocating that we “go soft” in all cases, but I do think that we need to be more consistent with our expectations. We need to be more forgiving of mistakes made by others, and employ some deviation of the golden rule: others should be treated the way that I would like to be treated. Fair enough?!