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Joan Lloyd's HR Words of Advice: It's No Fun Being the Favorite

Employee Satisfaction/Engagement, Communication Programs, Conflict & Dispute Resolution, discipline, discrimination
Posted by Lloyd, Joan at Thursday, 11/10/2005 5:16 pm
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
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2.9 from 62 votes

Dear Joan:

I have experience similar to what you have described in your recent column about favoritism, the twist being I was one of the favorites. I never see a favorite writing in to complain, but I am!

I was extremely uncomfortable with this situation. This person obviously favored me, as well as one or two others, but we did do our jobs, weren´t tardy or missing in action, and weren´t troublemakers. However, we were allowed to pretty much dictate our comings and goings (if we chose to), while the other non-exempt employees were told they had to come in at 8, leave at 5. There was no flexibility, no allowances for doctor´s appointments, children´s events, (meaning some of us had this flexibility and some didn´t.).

When I asked about this, my boss said I (and other "favorites") could be trusted but the others couldn´t. I didn´t take advantage of this, particularly because I didn´t want to further inflame the situation. Morale was already poor enough.

I still don´t get it. Why didn´t he just take care of poor performance if that was the problem? Interestingly, just like your boss in today´s letter, this boss hated confrontation but didn´t mind complaining about subordinates behind their backs to other subordinates.

Just an example of how sometimes the "favorites" aren´t any happier with poor leadership than the "targets". Poor leadership affects everyone.


You´re right. No one has ever written to complain about being a "favorite" before. And I´m so glad you did. Obviously, you are a very good performer with a mature outlook.

Your experience underscores the damage a weak, non-confrontational leader causes. Rather than create an unfair work environment, your manager should have allowed everyone to have the same opportunities and then deal with those who took unfair advantage of the flexibility.

Joan Lloyd is an executive coach, management consultant, facilitator and professional trainer/speaker.  Reach her at Joan Lloyd & Associates, (800) 348-1944, or © Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.

Do you want more tips like this?  Send an email to with the subject line "Online Newsletter" and receive Joan Lloyd´s mini-newsletter each week.

Confronting poor performance, or difficult behaviors, is difficult for many managers.  Joan Lloyd´s How to Coach & Give Feedback learning system is a step-by-step approach to help you help your employees make changes in their performance that will enable them to succeed on the job.  Actually reduces defensiveness and encourages open communication.  Now available in CD!

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