You spearheaded a major initiative at work, accomplished the goals of the project, and helped the company gain major recognition in its industry. Your colleague helped get out a mass mailing for the company. Your boss makes a grand show of appreciation for your colleague. As for your work, well, he fails to even acknowledge it. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario in many organizations and can be demoralizing for the unfavored and highly uncomfortable for the favored. Here are some ways you can handle your position, depending on where you fall on the favoritism spectrum.
Take some time to reflect: Whether you are the favored or unfavored, it’s important to reflect and evaluate the situation you’re in before you jump to any conclusions or take any action. Ask yourself some questions that can help you can gain clarity. Are you jealous of someone else’s success? Why is an acknowledgment of your work important to you? What would it mean to be acknowledged? Is there anything that you could do differently to support your team members? Why does your boss recognize your work but fails to support others? What is at the core of this favored behavior? These are just some of the questions you may need to ponder before you consider taking any action.
Build relationships: You can spend up to eight hours or more a day at work. Therefore, it’s important that you have good working relationships with your colleagues. This helps to offset negative feelings that are provoked when a boss plays favorites. So, whether you are the favored one or the unfavored one, having strong relationships with your coworkers will create an environment of support and allow for honest dialogue about the situation.
When you are the unfavored: Remain authentic to how you want to be perceived in the workplace and keep working hard. Don’t allow your supervisor’s behavior to keep you from being your best professional self. It is equally important that you not mistreat the favored. In general, that person doesn’t have any more power than you do to change the behavior of their boss. Therefore, holding a grudge against that person will not in any way advance your cause and will only create additional tension in the workplace. Instead, consider how you could approach your boss directly, and diplomatically address what you’re experiencing.
When you are the favorite: Being the favored one has its own difficulties and can cause your co-workers to become resentful of you. While you cannot control how others behave, it’s important that you maintain your professionalism and that you remain humble. You can also take the time to show and demonstrate appreciation for your colleague’s work. By doing this, you offset some of the negative feelings that come from the favoritism and help create acknowledgment for your colleagues. As the favorite, it is also important that you try to avoid the benefits that can come from being in this position. If you find that your boss is skipping others for deserved benefits, then, you can politely suggest that your colleagues receive the benefit first.
– Cynthia Santiago, empowerment coach and founder of Latina Wellness