How To Deal With A Boss Who Plays Favourites

It’s natural to like some personalities better than others. We’re only human, after all. Having a favourite person to talk to or work with in the office is normal, but when it becomes a matter of playing favourites then it becomes a problem.

Having a boss who chooses favourites in the office can make you feel neglected and worthless and can kill workplace morale for everyone. It limits your ability to do your work, grow as an employee or see any sort of promotion or wage increase.

When the person at the top isn't your biggest fan, you can feel like there is no one looking out for you in the workplace. There is no one to taking into account your concerns or rights.

Here is how to deal with your boss when you don’t fall into the ‘favourite’ category.

1. Keep Calm

The worst thing you can do when your boss is treating you unfairly is to have a blow up. The first thing you should do is make sure to keep your emotions in check and don’t take out your frustrations on your boss or coworkers. Take the high road, as any badmouthing will only look bad on you in the end.

2. Carry On

It may seem easier said than done but try to focus on your work and doing the best you can at your job. Take the negative emotion you feel from the favouritism and channel it into being better at what you do. Try to get feedback from your boss on the work you’re doing, because although you might not be the favourite, it doesn’t mean they hate you.

3. Build the Relationship

Work on building the relationship between you and your boss. This doesn’t mean being a total suck-up or pushover but rather making more of an effort to work on a rapport. Take notice of what your boss appreciates in workers and try to do those things. You could also take a more direct approach. Sit down with your boss and have straightforward communication about your role in the workplace and what you are both looking for.

4. Reach Out

If the favouritism in the office is becoming extreme, it’s time to take more serious measures. If your boss is just forcing you to do unsafe work or work extra hours without proper pay, a line has definitely been crossed. If you’re not getting a fair wage, or are harassed by your boss because of your gender, race or ethnicity, this has gone from favouritism to discrimination. This is when you should consider outside support. The good news is there are lots of resources to help you. 


Having a boss that isn’t your biggest fan, is definitely stressful. Trying these different strategies are a great way to try and change the dynamics for not only you, but everyone in the workplace.

We're here to help

Do you have any questions about your rights in the workplace or need someone to talk to about your job stress? Contact one of our free labour counsellors at

The Distress Line is a great resource to call if you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to. 

You can contact them at 403.266.HELP (4357) in Calgary, 
780-482-HELP (4357) in Edmonton and 1-800-232-7288 in rural areas.

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