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3 Smart Ways To Deal With Workplace Favouritism



3 Smart Ways To Deal With Workplace Favouritism

Millennials share clever tips to deal with a boss who plays favourites

It is human nature to like some people more than the others. At work, this translates to what we know — and dread — as workplace favouritism. It happens in all kinds of workplaces, and if ignored, can put a serious damper on your professional life.

Cribbing and complaining isn’t the way to go. So how does one deal with a boss who plays favourites? Follow these tips shared by young working professionals:

1. Ask for New Opportunities

Irrespective of an open door policy or how approachable your boss is, confrontation isn’t going to help — more so because most Indian companies don’t have any HR policy regarding favouritism. So instead of accusing the boss, try a completely different route: ask for new opportunities.

Delhi-based digital marketer Ananya Rao*, 22, says, “In my office, my friend is our boss’ favourite. However, he doesn’t like the spotlight. So one day, he told me to quit complaining about going unnoticed and have a word with the boss lady instead. I did just that.

“In a one-on-one meeting, I asked her if I was doing my job well and whether I could take on certain responsibilities. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a yes on both counts. Today, six months later, I am glad to say that I am no longer invisible. He is still her favourite employee though!”

2. Don’t Take It Personally

Remember, it’s not you, it’s your boss. Don’t let someone else’ unprofessionalism jeopardise your career.

While it is natural to feel hurt when you are overlooked, it does not mean you are not good enough. Separate feelings from facts, and your life will be a whole lot easier.

Delhi-based software tester Manali Prakash*, 29, shares her experience. “My manager favours this guy in my team, simply because they have a lot in common. He is good at his job, but he is not very particular about meeting deadlines. Even though I am a better worker, I don’t get even half as much appreciation.

“I would get upset and doubt myself until recently, when I realised that I am good at what I do, I like it here, and I am not going to let this partiality affect my performance. Plus, my work speaks for itself. My year-end appraisal is proof of that.”

3. Ultimately, Hard Work Wins

Unless your higher-up is extremely unethical, favouritism should not affect your career growth. If you continue to deliver, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your professional goals.

Yes, it can be stressful and make you feel short-changed, but it can’t hold you back (not for too long, at least)!

Pune-based motivational speaker and image consultant Ritvik Tuteja, 24, thinks it doesn’t matter in the long run.

He opines: “Favouritism exists in all walks of life and many of us end up being lost. However, if you believe in yourself, corporate favouritism will never be a hindrance to succeed. Have faith in your expertise, and eventually, you will emerge beyond organisation favouritism (which is always temporary in nature).”

Personally, I believe that when one has to put up with favouritism at work, it is best to first figure out whether it is fair or unfair. If you are honest with yourself, you might realise that the person gets preferential treatment because they really are the star performer.

However, if you think your boss is being unfair, maybe you need to figure out how to be taken more seriously.  Also, don’t be ashamed to be your own cheerleader: unfocus from the favoured, and self-promote instead.

And finally, don’t stress too much about watching someone else get undeserved glory. As annoying as it is, there are far worse things to deal with in life.

How would you deal with workplace favouritism? Do share in the comments below.

(*names changed upon request)

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar




Mahevash Shaikh is the twenty-something author of Busting Clichés. She loves to write, draw and laugh (among other things). You can find her using words and pictures to express herself and redefine the word "normal" at

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