7 Expert Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Favoritism in the workplace refers to favoring someone for reasons other than their performance on the job. For example, a manager will constantly offer an employee the best and most prestigious tasks, even if the individual does not perform satisfactorily enough to deserve them. Perhaps an employee is promoted over someone who has been with the organization longer and has greater experience.

Favoritism is common when a management and an employee form a friendship outside of work. Favoritism in the workplace can have even more serious consequences when friendships escalate into potential harassment. 

Another type of favoritism is nepotism. Nepotism is the practice of extending favoritism to family members, derived from the Italian term for nephew, “nipote.” In the workplace, family members may be employed, promoted, or otherwise given an advantage over other candidates solely because they are relatives.

As HR professionals, we are responsible for keeping our organizations’ employees satisfied and productive. This goal is difficult to achieve if there is favoritism on the job, particularly if it is allowed to spread unchecked. 

Onboarding Discussions Should Address The Problem

If you work in HR, make partiality a topic of discussion a part of the employee induction process, especially for those transitioning into leadership roles. This helps new employees discern between partiality and praise for a good work ethic. It also demonstrates to new managers the need of maintaining equal treatment for their staff. 

Foster Professionalism 

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Favoritism is simply unprofessional. The first step toward avoiding it is to establish and promote professionalism within your organization. They say that the best offensive is a good defense. Defend your organization from potential favoritism by fostering a professional environment that actively rejects unjust treatment. 

Offer Training

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Another strategy to avoid workplace favoritism and discrimination is to educate and inform both managers and employees. Provide a training session regarding what favoritism is, why it’s bad, and what people should do if they see it in the workplace. If your staff understand what to look for, they are more likely to report it if they encounter it. 

Facilitate Communication

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Similar to training, employees should be aware that they have a confidential outlet for reporting favoritism. Unchecked bias is destructive, but employees will not report it if they are unsure how to proceed or fear that it would have a negative impact on them. Encourage employees to talk about it openly. Make sure they know that there are not going to be any adverse consequences if they report such incidents to higher authorities.

Create a System

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Using measures instead of emotions to track employee performance is an additional safeguard against bias in key decision-making. When deciding on a promotion, examine an employee’s influence and the measurable, specific ways they’ve aided the organization. Create a clear promotion policy with standards and procedures to prevent favoritism. 

Be Transparent

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

Make it obvious that your leadership team does not accept nepotism or favoritism. You can conduct a survey of employees about workplace bias to determine how different divisions can handle the issue. Create a platform for employees to speak up when they see unjust decisions or dynamics. 

Get To The Bottom Of It

Tips To Navigate Favoritism Challenges As An Effective Leader

If you detect partiality in your firm, the most important thing you can do is stop it. It can be a difficult situation, to be true, but the consequences are far too severe to overlook. If someone comes forward with a claim of job discrimination, do not dismiss it. Gather the information and get to the bottom of things. 


It is natural for leaders and employees to form friendships. Workers and managers alike should learn to distinguish between excellent professional partnerships and damaging team hierarchies.

Favoritism is ultimately harmful. It depresses morale and productivity, slows growth, and endangers both people and companies.

If you’re dealing with workplace favoritism, learn about the many types, their effects, and how to overcome them. Avoiding partiality and being open about employee performance will help you create a more egalitarian workplace. 

Also Read : 5 Expert Tips For Conflict Management In Your Organization

Get In Touch

Get In Touch With Us

    A counselling psychologist by profession, Abs specialises in addressing mental health concerns of adolescents, young adults, and adults including stress & time management, relationship counselling, substance abuse, domestic violence, perinatal problems, depression, loneliness, anxiety, sexual issues, identity crisis and work issues, among others. She believes that therapy can hold different experiences & meanings for each individual, thus using an eclectic approach with her clients.

    Aditya’s passion lies in Career and Business Strategy. He loves Supporting executives and professionals with career obstacles such as self regulation, goal directed persistence, task initiation, planning/prioritization, role transition, organization and time management.

    His clients share from the experience about their coaching engagement  that they feel his coaching is an experience that is engaging, highly energizing and making learning fun. He has a strong determination to offer something different, with the intention of helping others succeed in their walks of life.

    His accreditations includes him being an Associate Certified Coach (ACC- ICF),Brave Spirit Icon 2017 I Youth Icon Recipient 2016 I National Service Excellence Award 2016 I National Education Award 2015 

    His experience includes 50,000+ hours that involves facilitation/presentation/training/consulting on a wide variety of topics globally across Dubai, Sri Lanka, UK, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, USA. He has successfully engaged with over 1,00,000+ participants from diverse backgrounds working on a national and international assignment since 2014.