3 Smart Ways To Deal With Workplace Favoritism


Sad but true: it is human nature to like some people more than others. At work, this translates into what we know and dread as workplace favoritism. It happens in all kinds of workplaces, and if ignored, can put a serious damper on your professional life. Here are some tips from Indian millennials on how they counter it.

1. Ask for New Opportunities

Irrespective of an open door policy or how approachable your boss is, confrontation isn’t going to help – more so because most  Indian companies don’t have any HR policy regarding favoritism. Instead of accusing them of playing favorites, be diplomatic and ask for new opportunities.

Delhi-based digital marketer Ananya Rao*, 22, says: In my office, my friend is our boss’ favorite. However, he doesn’t like the spotlight. So one day, he told me to quit complaining about going unnoticed and have a word with the boss lady instead. I did just that. In a one on one meeting, I asked her if I was doing my job well, and whether I could take on certain responsibilities. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a yes on both counts. Today, six months later, I am glad to say that I am no longer invisible. He is still her favorite employee though.

2. Do not take it personally

Remember: it’s not you, it’s your boss. Don’t let someone else’ unprofessionalism jeopardize your career. All you can do is keep calm and do your job well. While it is natural to feel hurt when you are overlooked, this does not mean you are not good enough. Separate feelings from facts and your life will be a whole lot easier.

Delhi-based Software tester Manali Prakash*, 29 shares her experience. “My manager favors this guy—let’s call him A—in my team simply because they have a lot in common. A is good at his job, but he is not very particular about meeting deadlines. Even though I am a better worker, I don’t get even half as much appreciation. I would get upset and doubt myself until I realized that I am good at what I do, I like it here, and I am not going to let this partiality affect my performance. Plus, my work speaks for itself. My year-end appraisal is proof of that.”

3. Ultimately, hard work wins

Unless your higher-up is extremely unethical, favoritism should not affect your career growth. If you keep your head down and continue to deliver, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your professional goals. Yes, it can be stressful and make you feel short-changed, but it can’t hold you back.

Pune-based Motivational Speaker & Image Consultant Ritvik Tuteja, 24 thinks it doesn’t matter in the long run. He opines:
“Favoritism exists in all walks of life & many of us end up being lost. However, if you believe in yourself, corporate favoritism will never be a hindrance to success. Keep faith in your expertise and forte, and eventually, you will emerge beyond organization favoritism (which is always temporary in nature).”

Personally, I believe that when one has to put up with favoritism at work, it is best to first figure out whether it is fair or unfair. If you are honest with yourself, you might realize that the person gets preferential treatment because they really are the star performer. However, if it is the latter, maybe you need to figure out how to be taken more seriously. Also, don’t be ashamed to be your own cheerleader: unfocus from the favored and self-promote instead. And finally, don’t stress too much about watching someone else get undeserved glory. As annoying as it is, there are far worse things to deal with in life.

That said, workplace favoritism can become a huge problem when it leads to othering and prejudice. If you or someone you know is being discriminated against at work, make sure you approach human resources.

What have you done to deal with favoritism at work? Do share in the comments below.

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