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#InTheOffice 01: Does Favoritism Exists in Workplace?

Wong Shu Lee  


  July 10, 2021

#InTheOffice is a column that discusses topics and issues that happens in a workplace setting. Readers’ suggestions are welcomed. Write to us at admin@zom-in.com if you want us to feature a topic or to answer a question. 


Every organization is built with humans. And it’s natural for humans to enjoy working with friends, which often inadvertently turns into favoritism. 


Hence, favoritism is absolutely seen in most offices, regardless big or small. It’s almost similar to teacher’s pets back in our school days, those who being favored are given more opportunities. 


First of all, when you think there is favoritism in your workplace, let’s check whether it is related to the favored employee’s job performance or it’s merely occurs due to the personal bond or friendship shared between the manager and the employee. 


If it’s the latter, then it is favoritism. When there is favoritism, the favored employee may receive more advanced projects or promotions than others who have better qualifications. They might also receive fewer or no repercussions for tardiness or inability to meet deadlines.


So, what to do if this happens in your workplace? 


If you suspect you are the one being favored unfairly, to jealously guard being favored may help you with your boss, but it will not help you with your associates. There are several ways to make it an asset for you to build a harmonic work relationship with your coworkers. 


For example, you can suggest the names of other capable candidates for opportunities, and sharing positive comments about team members’ performance, and other inclusive behaviors can be useful. 


Ultimately, there is no upside to favoritism. If you’re being singled out as a favorite and advancing purely because of that, you’re going to end up in a position you’re not qualified for surrounded by resentful and unsupportive peers. Even if you’re earning the opportunities you’re receiving, but others are perceiving it as favoritism, they may just be undermining your hard work. 


Hence, whenever possible, share the limelight. 


So, what can you do if you’re the victim? Here are some ways to navigate through workplace favoritism. 


First, you need to figure out if you’re really a victim. If the person being favored does truly perform better than you do, it is time to ramp up your performance to be equal or better than the performance of those you feel are being favored. 


Remember to always be professional and do your part to show you care about the team, company, and clients. Never allow unhealthy favoritism to affect the professional you are. 


If favoritism is severe and you’re being ignored, you will have to be more aggressive in your communications. Numbers are power. Talk to others in the department if the situation is egregious and tell your boss that many in the department would like more face time with him or her. You can consider calling up for department lunches more often to create more communication between your boss and other members of the department. 


Most importantly, don’t be angry with the favored employee. It’s usually not the employee’s fault that he or she receives special treatment—so don’t blame them or treat them poorly. As difficult as it might be, maintain a normal professional relationship with the favored worker. 


Have you experienced this sort of situation before? Share your experience with us at admin@zom-in.com. Visit our Opportunity page if you’re exploring new career opportunities. 


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