Let’s face it, we’re all human. As much as people may deny it, parents may secretly (or not so secretly) have a favorite child and teachers have their favorite student. The workplace is no exception. Bosses have their favorite employees, and colleagues simply have better chemistry with certain peers. However, there comes a point when this camaraderie can negatively impact an organization and its employees, and in some cases, bring destructive consequences.
If the second scenario with Michelle and Ron sounds familiar, then it is encouraged to begin taking steps to improve your skills of balancing personal and professional relationships to reduce the likelihood of harmful consequences to the organization, as discussed above. Here are some tips to start the process:
- Take a step back and conduct a relationship audit. Reflect on your workplace behaviors and relationships, and make an honest evaluation of the consequences that certain actions are having on the rest of the employees, overall performance, and overall organization. Why did you behave in the way you did? Did you react out of emotion (e.g. anger, fear, uncertainty about loyalty)? What were you trying to communicate? Are there other constructive ways to deliver your message? With whom do you have other positive relationships? Negative? Neutral? Why?
- Solicit regular feedback. No matter how senior your role, we all have blindspots and the way to resolve these hidden obstacles is to regularly seek feedback from trusted peers, coworkers, and your reports.
- Learn how to give constructive feedback. Instead of delivering criticisms, blame, or covering up a person’s error, describe the facts of the situation, explain why his/her behavior or performance was not optimal, and offer an alternative approach; try to identify at least one thing the person did well or a positive quality. Ask for his/her thoughts and actively LISTEN to their feedback. Even our favorite employees make mistakes and have areas to improve.
- Get coaching. If you feel you could benefit from coaching to maintain a healthy balance with your favorite employee/s and the rest of the staff, or to save an organization from quickly heading toward the potentially harmful consequences due to favoritism, please contact one of our AIIR consultants today at [email protected]