Favouritism develops from a tendency by superiors to facilitate working with people they enjoy spending time with. This can become a problem when it starts to negatively affect team morale. Other team members may not feel adequately recognized for their work or feel that undeserving colleagues are getting undue recognition from superiors.
Favouritism can also backfire on the people who are being favoured if they find themselves in positions or responsible for tasks that they may not be adequately prepared to handle.
1. Share the spotlight: If you feel you are being unduly favoured, try sharing the attention with other team-mates. You could do this is by appreciating work done by teammates in front of your seniors or by opting to share some of the responsibilities you have been given with another teammate you think works well.
2. Evaluate yourself: If you feel another colleague has been receiving too much attention, first try and evaluate whether the person deserves the attention s/he is getting over you. Does the person contribute more than you do at present? Have they been able to generate more work than you have recently? It helps to reflect over similar questions before you allow the situation to start negatively impacting how you feel at work.
3. Make changes: Researchers suggest evaluating whether you can find ways to improve your performance, if feasible. If you are able to find areas to improve on and then implement these changes, experts say that recognition is inevitable, but also involves being patient.
4. Maintain healthy relationships: Researchers also advise maintaining a positive relationship with the employee that is being favoured. You may not know the reasons behind why s/he is getting extra attention from your superiors, so it may help to avoid taking it too personally.
5. Speak up: If you feel that the situation requires serious attention, then it would help to talk with your boss. Experts suggest that a favourable way to do this would be to draw your boss' attention to your own strengths, interest areas and desire to receive more work, as opposed to highlighting the extra attention your colleague is getting.
If multiple team members are uncomfortable with the situation, you could think of calling a meeting with your boss to inform him or her or the team's desire to get more time with him or her on a regular basis, as well as create a document with each person's strengths and interest areas that could be shared with him/her.
6. Approach Human Resources: If you feel the situation is dire, experts suggest that it is imperative that you inform someone from your Human Resources department so that appropriate steps can be taken to protect team morale and productivity.
If you have noticed instances of favouritism at your workplace and would like help on how to manage the situation, our counsellors would be happy to help.