How your favourite employee can one day cost you your job

One hazy morning Ram was jogging in the park as usual, when his phone beeped. He was shocked to read the message on this office whatsapp group – his ex-boss had just been sacked from his job.

Six months ago, his organization had initiated a new project which was very critical for sustaining the future business of the company. Ram’s boss was the in-charge of this project and Ram had all the skill sets needed to plan & execute it. However, his boss decided to assign this project to his Man Friday – Shyam. Shyam was the boss’s favourite but he wasn’t skilled enough to see the project through. 

Within three months Ram resigned from the organization and moved on to a new company. Unbeknownst to him, the project ran into every problem imaginable till finally Ram’s boss was let go from the company too. Meanwhile the organization made huge losses on account of non-completion of the project and came to the verge of closure. Such was the impact of one bad decision.

This scenario is common in organizations at almost every level of its hierarchy. When leaders encourage the practice of favouritism, it takes little time to grown into the organization’s culture. This leads to performance erosion and key employees leaving the company.

Every boss has his/ her favourite employee. Boss keep promoting his favourite person & also assigning him important projects. I feel there is nothing wrong in it; but selecting your favourite for all kinds of work is not a good practice. One becomes a favourite because he must have done hard work, achieved desired results, may have done some personal work or he/she is simply good at boot-licking. But this doesn’t make him qualify to do all the projects. 

A key trait of a successful leader is to have the knack of picking the right people for the right jobs. Any leader’s success or failure depends on the performance of his projects/departments. Leaders cannot risk doing things that people expect from them to do; rather they should do things which they are expected to do.

One bad decision of Ram’s boss had cascading effect on the organization –

  • A skilled employee left the organization due to unfair treatment
  • The boss himself ended up getting laid off
  • The entire organization was exposed to the higher risk of shutting shop (which inadvertently means loss of jobs for many)

One must know and understand that right individual is needed for a project regardless of whether he likes or dislikes the employee. The challenge for the leader is how it will be perceived by his favourite if he allocates the project to the right person and shift the power within his team.

Leaders may need to speak one to one with these key individuals while continuing their practice of favouritism. They need to speak to his favourite & explain him why the project has been allocated to other individual. At the same time, he has to speak to the other individual & make him understand that how important he is for the project. One to one talk surely helps.

In business you don’t select people to make them happy or for good or bad reasons, you choose it to achieve certain goals & your decisions should be in line of achieving these objectives. 

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