It strikes me as a little curious that everyone I know in the many organisations I work with really and genuinely want equality. Yet it probably surprises all of us that individuals and groups are regularly emerging who do not feel treated equally. How can this happen when equality is something we all believe in and want, and what can we do to improve the situation?

I noticed something very striking when working with bid teams on large (multi million) bids for construction or FM work. To win the bid we need the team as a whole to establish trust with the client. The best bid teams not only wanted trust with the client (as most managers I know ant equality), they realised that unless this element called ‘trust’ was overtly described and driven for, it would not achieve the levels the bid team hope for. Some teams assumed that if they were good, then trust would naturally emerge. The smart teams realise that it was better not to leave it to chance or human personality, it was best to drive for it as an explicit measurable goal.

How many times have our managers personally asked us “do you feel you are working in an equality focused team, and if not, what cane we do to improve the situation?” I’d wager we haven’t had that question very often. Sure, we may have been asked by organisational survey, but have we been asked face to face as part of a manager / team relationship?

To drive for equality these types of conversations with teams and individuals must become more common. To give credit to most of us managers, there are many more questions being asked of the team such as “what can I do to support you?” or “do you have the resources you need?” or “are we on track to meet your long term goals?”. The fact that we are asking these questions much more to our team members is all to our credit. Now it is time to raise questions to the team about the topic of equality, a topic younger workers are much more focused on than perhaps previous generations were.

So, let’s start by being up front and asking our people face to face regularly about how they see equality in our organisations rather than just relying on corporate surveys, and let’s drive quality together. I suspect, that if we asked more often face to face, people wouldn’t then need to gravitate to the group momentum that is becoming common, and we would save ourselves as leaders much time and effort by dealing with equality issues earlier than we have been doing.

Mark Miller – Director Goodfoot