My Boss is Favouring My Coworker!

You’ve got a problem at work; your boss is favouring your co-worker.  You’re co-worker is always receiving positive feedback and preferential treatment, and you feel…ignored.   How do you handle this discouraging situation?  Here are some suggestions that may help:

Why is this happening?  Start with your own analysis.  Is there something that your co-worker is doing differently than you?  Is your co-worker performing particularly well?  Does your co-worker have a style of working that may be attractive to your manager?  Is there a reason that your manager may be unhappy with your performance? 

Does it really matter?  Sure, it’s no fun to feel like someone else has an unfair advantage, but is it really hurting you?  Do you still enjoy your job?  Are you treated well?  Are you being given opportunities to further your career?  If yes, then it may be best to rise above the office games and keep focused on your priorities.

Ask for feedback.  It might be a good idea to ask your manager how they feel about your job performance.  You could be making a simple mistake that is preventing your manager from joining your fan club.  Most managers would be impressed by an employee taking the initiative to try to improve their performance.

Focus on your job.   Instead of feeling neglected, try to focus on your job.  If you perform well and achieve results, your manager may start to recognize the value that you bring to the organization.  It is also important to be a team player.  Don’t be mean to the manager’s favourite employee.  It is always best to be professional and respectful towards all of your co-workers.

Has it become a serious issue?  There could be many different reasons for a manager to show a preference towards one particular employee.  Perhaps they know someone in common or have a shared passion for French literature.  Whatever the reason, it is best to ignore it until it starts to limit your opportunities or becomes blatantly unfair.  If it does reach that level, directly and professionally address the issue with your manager and provide specific examples of times that you felt you were treated unfairly.  The manager will likely either explain why he acted in the way that he did, or will promise to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.   The situation may improve, and if it doesn’t, it’s probably a good time to start looking for another job.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, Photo from: Robert Cochrane /

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