Leadership Thought: Favorites

Although I have a degree in leadership, I do not consider myself to be the epitome of what a leader should be. I do, however, know some principles that are helpful for people in leadership in various sectors.

I have worked for larger entities where relatives did not work together. Hiring was handled by a Human Resources manager who was very objective in his/her hiring choices. Most of my work has been in church or smaller business settings where friends tend to hire friends. If you are a person of principle who can separate work from friendship, this works fine. Most of the time, I have seen it backfire. Why does it backfire?

  1. The person in charge holds friends to a lower standard and others to a higher standard. Subjectivity becomes the means of operation. When push comes to shove, the head person’s home boy or home girl will get away with murder while a case may be built against you. This is even worse when family is hired. I think it should be said that blood runs thicker than work ethic and principle.
  2. This favoritism breeds an atmosphere of jealousy. I’ve seen pastors allow certain staff members to roll up in the office at 11 am because they slept in after playing video games all night. Then they would leave at 2:30 to go watch a movie with their favorite people while other staff members had to hold the 9:00-5:00 office hours.

Leadership leaves no room for favoritism. Read the Bible. You will see that favoritism led to a world of family problems (ie Rebekah and Isaac). It does the same in the workplace. Be fair and objective. Otherwise, you are breeding an environment that will become toxic and may ultimately lead to poor performance among your staff.

7 thoughts on “Leadership Thought: Favorites

  1. Excellent Pastor Matthew. Even in the season when my family operated in business together it was successful because we maintain high expectations of respect between ourselves and the positions we each held. Playing “favorites” leads to nothing but hurt feelings and discourse. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on leadership.

  2. You are so correct! I worked for seventeen years in a system in which one small group of teachers was held in higher esteem than the rest of us. At one point, the principal was going out for drinks with a couple of the teachers that she was evaluating. I met with her and pointed out how wrong that was; then I met with the superintendent and told him what was going on. The principal was moved to the central office, but still continued to show favoritism. It’s hard to be a good witness in a place at which you know there is no way that you will ever be treated fairly. I stayed for the students because administration never really recognized the efforts of the 90% since they were so busy giving kudos (not unearned, but tiring) to the 10% they loved.

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