Ranking Workers is Inhumane

As we move into a more Gender-Whole world, one of the patriarchal artifacts that we can leave behind is Ranking.  When we say ‘ranking’, we’re not talking about how your husband smells when he gets back from a run. We’re talking about our tendency to have to stack-rank everything, from people to results to sports players.

Gloria Steinem asks us to consider “linking over ranking”.  Looking for ways to connect things and people, instead of looking for reasons to divide them.  She notes that once you start ranking people, it’s a short step to dividing groups by gender, race, ability and a thousand other things that pull us apart instead of bringing us together.  

How can you start linking instead of ranking in your workplace today?

Find the good in each team member.  Instead of ranking your team members, find the unique good in each.  Humans are not designed to be deemed good or bad, they each come with their own strengths and weaknesses.  Look for the good in each. Find ways to link the strengths.

Reward and celebrate connectors.  There’s someone in every office who knows everyone.  Whenever you need help finding the right person, you go straight to them.  We rely heavily on these ‘connectors’ but do we value them?

Take a stand against Ranking.  Is ranking part of your job?  Do you need to rank people for performance management?  What about awards or meeting invites? Just say no. Rank your team all equally and encourage your peers to do the same.  Use your collective voice to stop inhumane ranking.

Once I saw an Executive set a rule that he would not accept meetings with anyone below a director level.  The rule spread like wildfire. What do you think the impact of that ‘rule’ is on the rest of the organization?  It’s not inclusive. It doesn’t make people feel valued. And it certainly didn’t link people. I challenge you to tell an executive the impact of their behavior.

Brain Twist:  Next time you're in the cafeteria, elevator, or anywhere you connect with coworkers, try asking them what they’re working on.  When you start to find out what people are working on, it becomes really easy to start linking people.