Favoritism By A Supervisor

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about favoritism.

I wanted to know what your advice is on supervisor favoritism.

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

Apparently you feel your supervisor is favoring a coworker, but you don’t say how. Most of the time favoritism is shown by things like, talking together, going to lunch together, the employee gets special privileges, or the employee’s work is adjusted in some way (either more of the fun work or less of the problem work). What you do in response to favoritism will probably depend on the effect the favoritism has on you and your work.

If you can continue to work, are not being verbally mistreated and your work is not being made much worse because of it, it may be something you simply notice and dislike. You probably will never respect that supervisor very much and may not like the favored employee, but you can get your work done and that should be your primary focus.If you and your work are being harmed or if work has become nearly intolerable because of it, you should start by talking to your supervisor about the situation, then go higher in the organization if you think you can get support that way.

Before you take that approach, make sure you have some proof that there is something happening that is wrong according to the rules, or that work is being harmed.Consider this as your immediate approach: Don’t focus on the favored treatment, but instead work to gain more influence with your supervisor through your own work. Look at your performance and behavior right now and think about how the supervisor sees it. If you are being pleasant all the time and your work isn’t being corrected or changed, you probably get along OK with your supervisor.

Talk to him or her about work and about what you hope to accomplish. If there are some things you know your supervisor wants you to change or improve, you should focus on that and increase your value to the work. If there have been some serious conflicts between you and your supervisor, that is what you need to be most concerned about.At the same time, consider asking for the things you want at work, that you see the other employee getting. It could that some of the favored things are things you could have as well. I don’t know how helpful these responses are, since I don’t know what is happening in you work. But, perhaps you can use them to consider some options.

Start with your own behavior and performance first, then consider if the situation is really serious enough to take higher in the organization. It could be that this is just a work situation that will be irritating but that you can work around and improve over time. Rarely do these things last for long. Someone transfers or the work pattern changes. If you can hold on and keep building your own influence, you’ll be able to get past it.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.