- Education & Events
Beware - Boss’s Pet
You remember back in grade school. There was always at least one kid each year (usually the same one) who was designated as “Teacher’s Pet” and could do no wrong in the teacher’s eyes and was always held up as a role model for everyone else. And, you’ll also remember that no one liked Mister or Miss Goody Two Shoes who basked (and flaunted) in the limelight, lording it over everyone else who wasn’t as fortunate or favored. We all managed to survive those days…only to find that the same phenomenon happens in the workplace. Do you know someone who is the Boss’s Pet?
Why do we dislike this person so much? Some reasons that come to mind – we feel they are getting special treatment which makes us feel short changed; they have the boss’s ear and an inside track that definitely gives them an advantage; and they tend to bypass the peons and direct everything toward the exec, leaving us out of the information and decision-making loop and making us feel like schmucks.
So, what can we do about it? You can chew on it all you want, but you can’t change the situation. Better to accept reality. You won’t win with a negative campaign. They’ll go right to the manager and you’ll be the loser. You can let it affect your performance, but then you’ve played into their hands. So, the only answer is to focus on your own professionalism.
There’s also strength in numbers. Rally the team and put energies into team efforts. The more the group participates, the less power one individual has overall. Build camaraderie. Then the person who is left out isn’t you, but the one who is electing to segregate for self-serving purposes. Broadcast team results. Let the boss see what the work group is accomplishing and who is contributing. Stay positive, act as if things are hunky-dory and there’s no imposition, excel within the parameters given, and create new parameters of your own. Overcoming obstacles and finding new niches is a sure way to get recognized and rewarded. Make the boss look good (of course attaching your name) and you’ll find that professionalism will win in the long haul. It’s no fun to be a Pet if it goes unnoticed and no one envies your status. It’s only fun when you can rub people’s noses in it.
And let me say this…if YOU are the Pet, think about your reputation. Is it worth sacrificing your relationship with the team to get momentary attention from your exec? In the short run, you might think you are coming out ahead; in the long run, know it can’t last forever and then the tables will turn and you’ll be the pariah. It’s a career risk simply too big to take!