How to Deal With Workplace Favoritism

Ideally, the work environment is just and fair with each employee receiving equal treatment. Unfortunately, this is not the reality in most workplaces. Favoritism and unfairness dominate especially when senior employees favor one specific individual over others. The situation affects the work environment making it difficult to work. There are different ways to deal with the situation.

Don’t Entertain Jealously

Take a hard look at the situation and assess whether it is a case of favoritism or the individual works hard to earn the respect and liking of your bosses. Their work may be better than yours or they may be exceeding their goals. Often times, you will find that the favoritism is more obvious because deep down you know you are not performing well enough to earn the admiration of your bosses.

Fact Check

Mention the issue casually to your colleagues and ask if they notice any special treatment with specific individuals. Do not speak negatively about your colleague or boss. In case your colleagues have similar observations, ask them to name specific incidences and take note. This may help you address the problem at a later stage.

Speak to your Boss

Initiate a conversation with your boss where you highlight your own achievements and ways you can improve your performance if given the opportunity, without referring directly to the favoritism or pointing fingers at your boss. For example, if you feel your boss will bypass you to head a specific project, highlight achievements that give you an advantage over your colleagues. The conversation challenges your boss as he is also mindful of his reputation and will avoid making his favoritism obvious.

Alternatively, speak honestly and point out incidences of favoritism witnessed in the office. It will highlight the issue and prompt your boss to act accordingly. Do not just present the challenge, offer solutions that will help maintain a team spirit and stop the issues, especially if it affects the work environment negatively.

Ask a Mentor

Speak to your professional mentor for advice on the situation. She is probably more experienced in such situations and will help you gain an objective and meaningful perspective to the situation. Your mentor also offers guidance on different ways you can deal with the situation. Another way your mentor helps you is by reassuring you and helping you refocus your energy towards your work.

Offer Solutions

Speak up in instances you feel favoritism has come into play. For example, if the favored colleague is given a task you believe would be better handled by another individual, offer it as a suggestion giving facts on why the other individual is better suited, such as experience with similar projects in the past or special skills that will favor the project. Challenging the situation with facts may force your boss to make an objective decision.

Dealing with favoritism in the workplace is tricky. For example, you may speak up and annoy your boss or turn your colleagues against you. Handle the situation wisely and tactfully to avoid hurting yourself or the organization. If you feel that you cannot stand the situation, plan your exit by looking for favorable conditions elsewhere.


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