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How to Handle a Boss Who Plays Favorites

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Published on Oct 7, 2018

What to Do When Your Boss Plays Favorites

It can be very frustrating when your boss is constantly playing favorites, leaving you feeling left behind. It’s particularly frustrating if the favorites aren’t even top performers. The likelihood of changing your boss’ mind is slim to none, so you must avoid any gossiping or negative conversations about those favorites. Today I’ve got 4 tips that should help!

1. Ask for a favor.
If you can come up with an easily deliverable request from your boss, they feel like the hero, oddly they will be inclined to take notice of you. This will make the boss feel better about themselves and kindness toward others will cause your boss to feel better about him or herself and YOU. So it’s a double win!

2. Figure out what’s important to your boss
What are their goals? Do they currently have initiatives that need support? If you don’t already have this information, do your homework and ask. Offering to help based on the value you add is a way to strengthen a relationship and supersedes a “favorite” relationship that’s not based on performance.

3. Find allies, champions and mentors
If possible, buddy up to some of the favorites. You need to be as genuine as possible, you don’t want to appear desperate or like a “brown noser.” Look for people who can give you valuable insight into the organization. Try to find ways to build mutually beneficial relationships by offering assistance and soliciting their insight. Seek out a mentor outside of your department that is respected and well liked. Ask for a lunch date so you can build that relationship. If you know the boss already likes these people, having positive relationships with favorites can be your best way in through the side door.

4. Self Promote
The worst thing you can do is focus on your feelings of neglect or feeling left out. Go the extra mile to to be professional, thorough and reliable. Offer new ideas and use your voice to stand out. Just make sure anything you add to the conversation remains positive.

Just remember folks, as I already mentioned, nobody wants to deal with a desperate cling on. So try to remind yourself of the unique value you bring to the team and consistently do good work. You may never be a favorite but eventually everyone will notice that you are reliable, consistent and deliver quality results.

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