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Jul 18, 2007

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Boss's pet and Favoritism

Boss pet and Favoritism

Favoritism is a human trait found in many relationships, e.g.,
parent-children, teacher-students. As long as there are two
persons we have to interact with, it is in our nature to compare
and favor one over the other. CEOs, employers, bosses and
managers who deny that they have pet employees are
deceiving themselves. They should accept that they have, but
be skillful enough to manage the feelings and expectations of
the staff.


The Dog and the Wolf

Boss pet and Favoritism

(Illus by Milo Winter)

A gaunt Wolf was almost dead with hunger when he happened to
meet a House-dog who was passing by. "Ah, Cousin," said the

"I knew how it would be; your irregular life will soon be the ruin
of you. Why do you not work steadily as I do, and get your food
regularly given to you?"

"I would have no objection," said the Wolf, "if I could only get a

"I will easily arrange that for you," said the Dog; "come with me
to my master and you shall share my work."

So the Wolf and the Dog went towards the town together. On the
way there the Wolf noticed that the hair on a certain part of the
Dog's neck was very much worn away, so he asked him how that
had come about.

"Oh, it is nothing," said the Dog. "That is only the place where
the collar is put on at night to keep me chained up; it chafes a bit,
but one soon gets used to it."

"Is that all?" said the Wolf. "Then good-bye to you, Master Dog."


Better starve free than be a fat slave.
There is nothing worth so much as liberty.

Quotable Quotes:

“I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.”
... W. C. Fields

“Odd things animals. All dogs look up at you. All cats
look down at you. Only a pig looks at you as an equal.”
... Winston Churchill

“Given the natural differences between human beings,
equality is an ethical aspiration that cannot be realized
without recourse either to despotism or to an act of
fraternity.” ... Octavio Paz

“Had the employers of past generations all of them
dealt fairly with their employees there would have
been no unions.” ... Stanley Baldwin

“Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair
chance at becoming incompetent.” ... Laurence J. Peter

“Ordinary people may not understand the meaning of
democracy but they've a passionate regard for fair play.”
... Robert Maxwell

[browse collection of quotes and quotations]

Lessons in life:

Like the house-dog, there are staff in the office who are happy
to tag along with their bosses, do whatever they are instructed
to, and have no problems being labeled as the bosses' pets.
Perhaps, they decided that they would rather be slaves than
have their family and children starve. In the opposing camp are
those who refuse to 'suck-up' to the bosses, keep their
relationship at a purely professional level, and are vocal on
issues concerning equal rights and fair treatment.

A boss will not want to keep too many pets by his side. The vast
majority of the employees who do not enjoy this master-pet
relationship are likely to despise these pets, speak ill of them,
be uncooperative, gang up against them, and generally do
anything to make the boss disown the pets. Office morale and
productivity are likely to suffer as a result of this continuing
power play and manipulative activities. Those who have no
resolve to fight a losing battle will switch their attention to
learning the doggy tricks so that they too can become pets.
The workplace is thus transformed into a pet breeding ground.

Here, we share with you what we like about the pet employees
we had worked with. Whether you are hoping to become one,
or trying to spot one, this list should trigger some thoughts.

1. Top performer

The persons who can excel in work performance must surely
be liked. Only the self-serving bosses will see these talented
workers as a threat to their position and find excuses to put
them down. Good bosses, on the other hand, assign their most
important accounts and clients to these top performers. Their
rewards, incentives, and benefits may be the envy of the other
staff. Nonetheless, many do not resent the unequal treatment
provided that they too are recognized and credited for the
efforts that they have put into their area of work.

2. Blue-eyed boy

Sometimes, the reasons for liking a person go beyond work
per se. We may like an employee for his work attitude, dynamic
character, creative mind, leadership qualities, or warm
personality. We may admire his talents and experience in other
fields. We may view him as our successor and groom him to be
such. While it is rare to spot a gem, a boss should not shut his
mind to other potential candidates. Give everybody a fair
chance to shine and who knows, there can be another raw and
better talent sitting in a corner of the office.

3. Sweet talker

A boss's schedule can be so hectic that entering the office is like
immersing into a pressure cooker. We have little patience for
staff who are always criticizing our policies and opposing our
views, even if they mean well. Conversely, we like hearing from
staff who are skillful communicators. When they disagree with
us, they are able to present their views in a manner that is non-
confrontational and respectful.

We must draw a line to bootlicking and fawning, or flattering
for the sake of gaining a favor from us. Of course, this lot of
people also get the attention of some bosses, but they add no
value to the company since they are always in agreement with
their bosses.

4. Confidante

The man at the helm often loses touch with the people on the
ground. A worker who constantly shares with the boss
information, gossip and facts on the morale and happenings
within the office will become a boss's confidante. A good
manager should however not be overly reliant on the advise
by one person. Keeping the ears to the ground involves
listening to many people to ensure impartiality and
objectivity in the information.

5. Problem solver

Just like any staff in the organization, bosses have their own
problems ranging from matrimonial matters to their power
fight with their superiors. It is true that staff should approach
their boss when faced with a problem at work. Nevertheless,
the thoughtful and able staff are those who present the problem
together with suggested solutions. Not only do they lighten the
burden of the bosses, they are recognized for their problem
solving skills. If the boss is impressed, he might consult this
staff for advise over his own problems as well.

6. Thoughtful staff

Take good care of your boss. Any thoughtful gesture towards
maintaining his health and well-being, or protecting his position
and status in the company will not go unnoticed.

Related Articles:

Autocrats, dictators, and dominant bosses
Higher Purpose and Job Satisfaction
My Boss is an Idiot

Books worth reading:

Talk-show host Chris Matthews worked as a congressional
staffer with Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. Drawing on his
experience, Hardball : How Politics Is Played Told
By One Who Knows The Game is a book about principles
in politics that can also be applied to our business careers.

21 Dirty Tricks at Work: How to Win at Office Politics
by Mike Phipps and Colin Gautrey is a fun read. The book
covers a number of underhand and scheming tactics that are
often deployed by office workers. Through the book, you can
learn to spot them and handle such office politics while
preserving your credibility.

© Business Fables and Management Lessons

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1 comment:

Eric said...

I love this blog post! Can you think of any way I can tactfully share this with my boss? I am one of the one's who "won't suck up".

Of course, I love my liberty.

Thanks, Eric


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