Fight Or Flight? How To Deal With A Boss That Shows Favoritism

July 27, 2015  |  

Let’s face it, favoritism happens in the workplace all the time and unfortunately, can make it a miserable environment to do your job. This, of course, is not a big deal if you happen to be on the receiving end of praise. Employers are notorious for showing a little extra love to the folks they deem to be “rising stars,” while those left in their dust are lucky to get the scraps they don’t want. It’s not the best way to rally the troops and get people excited to do their job. And it makes working with a colleague who can do no wrong in the eyes of the boss difficult. Even if you try to brush off your feelings, it can sometimes be hard to think about ideals like promotion and other forms of career advancement.

I have seen all sorts of nepotism and favoritism that should’ve had human resources waving their “not cool” flag. Some managers purposely use favoritism to boot those feeling left out from their positions. The question is whether or not you’ll allow yourself to be shown the door.

No one will deny how annoying and hurtful this type of behavior can be, but at some point, you need to ask yourself if you have enough left in the tank to stick it out. Here are some tips on how to deal when a boss shows favoritism that doesn’t come your way.

Give the benefit of the doubt…for a limited time. This might be hard for some but it is still important — especially when dealing with a new boss. Oftentimes, managers have their own way of doing things that might clash with your daily hustle. Before you write off their behavior, allow a little time to pass before deciding they have a bias. For all you know, things could very well smooth out once everyone gets better established with one another.

Take note. Please don’t misunderstand, this in no way should discourage you from being yourself. If you start to notice your boss taking more interest in other employees, look to see what they’re doing. Maybe their approach or how they interact makes your boss’ life easier. There’s nothing wrong with fine-tuning your skills and looking for ways to enhance them.

Be direct, but not combative. “You’d have to be stupid not to see my talent!” Yeah, don’t lead with this. There might come a time when you feel you need to have a sit-down with your boss about their favoritism. Make sure you have as many facts (documented proof if possible) that you can gather. And allow some time to pass before approaching them. Regardless of what you do, make sure your delivery is both professional and not on attack mode. You want to convey your frustrations to contribute more without sounding bitter and angry. Failure to do so could have you looking for new employment.

Branch out. No one says you need to quit your job, but there’s also nothing wrong with looking for work elsewhere. Hopefully, you work for a company that has different teams that could use your skills. If so, reach out to others about opportunities to collaborate and provide your services. At some point, your boss will realize you aren’t contributing as much on their end, and will either ask what’s wrong or not give a darn. Either way, you’re making your coin which is all that matters.

Hit up upper level. This needs to be your very last course of action. Consider this your ace in the pocket if you have a pretty good working relationship with your boss’ boss. If you truly feel you have done everything in your power to help remedy your situation — without crossing inappropriate boundaries — you might want to think about speaking to someone who can mediate this workplace drama. Just know you are more likely the one who’s easier to replace than your manager.

Try your best to remain professional and let any shade roll off your back.

How do you deal with favoritism?

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