Monday, October 25, 2010

Favoritism in Leadership

My big question for you (I usually save these for the end) is: Can/Should a leader play favorites? Is there ever a place for favoritism from a leader? I've discussed this before, but I'd like your input

I’d really like your input on this. It’s something I’ve been pondering for some time now. I’ve been cruising down the path of “No!” That is, I don’t think a leader should play favorites. Sure, a leader or manager may have a “go to sales guy/gal” or a “go to project manager,” but it should be based on performance and that “sales guy’s” ability to get the job done, and not just because s/he’s a friend. (Maybe this discussion depends on one’s definition of favoritism. If so, what’s your defininiton?)

I see favoritism as a morale reducer in the workplace. Those that aren’t the “teacher’s pets” begin to question their importance to the organization. They begin to lose sight of where they fit within the organization and more importantly, they begin to question their own abilities. I’m afraid that it may become a destructive path, whereby the “last gal picked for the team” starts to care less about her work, and eventually reaches apathy.

So, is this the case? Have any of you seen this happen? Or, am I just way off base here? I haven’t had a lot of exposure to this yet, but I can sure imagine that it happens in many organizations. And, if this does happen (favoritism leading to apathy among the non-favorites), is it due to the environment of the organization, or just a weak/frail personality of the non-favorites? Playing favorites: Should it be done in leadership?

note: picture courtesy of

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