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News Item 320. Mishlei 18-05 (Favoritism)
A new proverb was posted to the Mishlei section on Sunday, May 28.
It teaches that a person who is in a position of power, whether it be a judge, employer, parent, or teacher should be careful about allowing his natural instinct to make unconscious judgments about others. Before he has had a chance to make a considered evaluation he may be inclined to favor some people and disfavor others.
The tendency to show favoritism may be so subtle that he doesn’t even realize it. He may fool himself into believing that he is justifiably rewarding good behavior and discouraging bad behavior by means of his body language, his smile, and his choice of words.
However, those who look to his favor will be watching him very carefully for any sign of prejudice, whether it is justified or not. If he is not careful he will be achieving an effect that is the opposite of what he was hoping for.
Anyone in a position of authority is advised to cultivate a carefully managed neutral attitude so that those dependent upon his fairness will feel that justice is being done and their honest efforts to earn his goodwill have been rewarded.