Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Duck, Duck, Goose!"

Do you remember playing this game when you were young? To jog your memory, you would get a group of people and sit in a circle. One person was “it” and would go around touching everyone on the held while saying “Duck, Duck, Duck.” Finally, the person would touch someone’s head while saying the word “Goose,” which caused the person sitting on the ground to get up and chase the “it” person around the circle. The object of the “it” person was to get around the circle and sit down, without being caught by the “goose.” What a great game that was!! But, where am I going with this?

Well, it seems that game was really all about favoritism. You did it. I did it. Everyone did it. Maybe you had a crush on “that girl” (or “that guy”), so you always chose them to be “the goose.” Or, maybe you always chose your best friend as the goose, or that one kid that looked goofy when he ran. Whatever the reason, everyone seemed to play favorites.

Times haven’t changed have they? We’re all grown up now, and we still fall into this trap. Doesn’t favoritism come into play in our working environments? Have you had a manager always give the “fun” job, or the “challenging” job to a certain individual? Or, maybe it seems that a coworker always helps out a certain person, but will never help you. It’s around us all the time. You’ve seen it in your organizations. It’s really just a form of office politics isn’t it? But, how do you deal with it? Do you accuse? Do you shy away? Do you get even? What’s your strategy for dealing with favoritism in the workplace?

This brings me to my next post: Should a leader play favorites? Is there a place for favoritism in the workplace? Hmmmmm……Something to ponder for a couple days!

note: picture courtesy of


Anonymous said...

Hey Eric - In Minnesota we played duck, duck, gray duck. Everyone was a duck of a different color and our gray duck was the equivalent of your goose.

I wonder if some of the favoritism is just perception. I'm not naive enough to think there those less than ethical relationships out there, but maybe that one person excels and deserves the fun job. The opposite could hold true in that the challenging job could be strategic in developing the individual to their potential. Often I think it is more the context that leads us to the conclusion of favoritism.

Thanks for the post!


Robyn McMaster said...

Hi Eric, the extreme of this is silent treatment, which is literally ostracism or even bullying which is getting more prevalent in our workplaces.

This children's game is a brilliant way to express what is taking place in today's workplaces.

Eric Peterson said...

You make a great point about perception! I think in many cases is does come down to the context of the situation, and how one perceives that situation.

Duck, Duck, Grey duck?? This is the first I've heard of it (of course I've always lived a sheltered "Iowa" life)! I guess you Minnesotans are just a little bit different :)

Thanks for the comments Bob! You always have a great insight into most of my posts!

Eric Peterson said...

Thank you for stopping by! I'm glad you brought up the "extreme" case of favoritism. You are right, bullying is becoming very common in the workplace. It's really too bad, but now people not only have to get their work done, but they now have to learn to "deal with" the office polliticking around the workplace.