Recognition vs. Favoritism

Leaders who overtly exercise favoritism make the “chosen” people feel good but often at the expense of diminishing others. Of course, it is appropriate to recognize people who do excellent work, but that recognition should not be at the expense of making other employees feel “less than”.

Our employees are human and are pleased or flattered to receive recognition, whether private or public. When public acknowledgement primarily focuses on favored employees, however, resentment can ensue.

Leaders are also human, and admittedly, they have their favorites. That creates the burden of tempering public comments and walk the fine line of recognition vs. favoritism. Here are some things to keep in mind.

+ As people accomplish noteworthy work, give praise at the time that this occurs. Even the most junior staff members deserve appreciation for a job well done.

+ When you treat your employees well, they will pay it forward by treating your clients well.

+ Don’t gush praise (especially to the “favored”) when it isn’t exceptional. This is exactly the kind of behavior that makes others feel badly. “Why does Joe get rewarded for just doing his job when I just jumped through hoops, and no one said a word?”

Reducing this to its essence, you can have your favorites, but take care in how you publicly recognize them, especially to the perceived detriment of others.

And remember that giving praise doesn’t cost you anything. Appropriately dispensing well-deserved praise or recognition to your staff is an investment in the future.

Header image by Wrner Pfenning/Pexels.

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