How To Deal With Favoritism At Work

Do you feel that one of your teammates gets a special treatment from your manager while others’ work goes unnoticed? Do you feel that you often get passed on for a praise while someone else gets the credit each time? Or is it just the other way around where you are at the receiving end of accolades and others feel that you are being treated specially? It is not uncommon to find personal biases come in the way of fair treatment at workplace.

According to a study done by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, 92% of senior level employees have witnessed favoritism during employee promotions, out of which 84% experienced it in their own organizations. Interestingly, about 25% of the respondents admitted to practicing favoritism themselves.

So, if you have been a victim of bias at work, here are three ways to tackle it.

Analyze the situation objectively

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 58% employees trust strangers more than their own boss. Lack of trust could be one of the reasons why you feel unrecognized at work. If you feel that your efforts are being overlooked on account of favoritism, then you must do an objective evaluation of your performance. There is a possibility that your colleague is being favored for genuine good work. If it is so, then you need to focus on improving your own performance before going for other measures. But if you continue to feel that the cause of favoritism isn’t just work, then you will have to consider it as a case of favoritism.

Do not encourage gossip

Another way to look at the situation more objectively is to avoid gossip around it. Just like you, your other teammates might be sensing the favoritism being in play. While it is good to take a second opinion on the situation, do not allow it to become a topic of gossip. Gossip can in fact decrease your morale and lead to cynicism. Be mindful that your conversations around this subject are more constructive and solution-centric than just a mindless vent.

Continue to communicate

Even if the situation is far worse than your imagination, keep the channels of communication open. In a survey, 48% employees rated communication between employees and senior management as a very important factor of job satisfaction. So speak up when you feel that you were not treated fairly. Just pick the right time and place to let your manager know how you feel about the situation. A good leader would always want to know how his team actually feels. Also be open to understand your manager’s perspective of the situation. The same goes for your behavior towards your colleague who is being favored.

However, there is not just one way in which favoritism can affect you adversely at work. The situation might get reversed in some cases where you are the one being favored with opportunities. In this case, you can ask your manager to officially let a team mate work on certain aspects of the project. Showing that you do not welcome biases is you saying NO to favoritism.

Another way to contribute to a more secure, un-biased work culture is to share the credit where due. Global studies reveal that 79% employees who quit their jobs voted ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. Set an example for your team by sharing the limelight with those who contributed. You must also strike a balance in your personal and professional equations at work. Being over-friendly with your manager at work can make way for favoritism or at least create an image of it.

It is important to weed out the practice of favoritism from a workplace in order to maintain positivity and productivity in the work environment. And if even your best efforts to tackle such a behavior fail, then you need to bring it up with the Human Resources or consider changing your workplace. However, you must first try and solve this at your end with patience and objectivity.

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