I was a motivational speaker for a construction company where an audience member spoke of his construction foreman saying, we all know we don't want to get on his bad side.
Discussing it further, he expressed that his foreman will always do the best for himself and won't keep others interests in mind. Thus, you have to guard yourself and always ensure you are fairly represented. This is a hard way to work, everyone on a team is on edge when you think your interests could be disregarded.
Alternately, some people can give as long as they are receiving and things are mutual. They live by the mantra, you treat me well and I'll treat you well.
However, the minute this balance is out of sorts, they will unwittingly punish others.
The philosophy of fairness seems ingrained in most business environments. At it's root, fair operates under the premise: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Basically, treat me well and I'll do the same in return. If you don't treat me well, forget it.
Trouble is, a dependant relationship results that is conditional. It is difficult to trust someone based on the demand for mutual performance. If you know someone will turn on you the minute you don't perform or treat them fairly (according to their definition), you are always in fear and protection mode.
Performance and respect are always dependent on others gratifying you.
True teamwork stems from a group of people who want the best for others and will do whatever they can to bring that out.
Knowing that if I mess up, my team will be there for me and always have my best interests in mind- puts me at ease. This doesn't mean you dismiss my failures but you support me in growth. It builds trust that frees up my energy to perform.
Respect that relies on others respecting you, doesn't work.
High performing teams don't disengage under stress or if others don't perform, instead they support them to grow.
At some point people will need your support. This will make demands on your character. Are you up for putting your self interest aside and helping out?
Aside from this what is fair anyways? If you have two men shoveling a side walk and one is naturally stronger, then is it fair that he should shovel more snow? Or is the other man not pulling his weight?
I think if we can all focus less on getting our fair share and instead focus on the group good, our team would function better. And possibly it would be a better world.