By Lindsey Tolino
Have you heard you shouldn’t play favorites with your employees? Do you try to be fair, but try as you might, there are still some employees you can’t help but favor?
‘Playing favorites’Â has always been condemned as poor conduct. I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t play favorites. I’m more interested in why your favorites are your favorites and how that can help you manage your business.
We are logical beings and even if it’s not immediately evident why someone is your favorite, on some level you have a reason for it. It’s important to get down to why someone is your favorite because the more you know why, the better you can manage your business.
Let’s look at an example
Say you have three employees – Bob, Julie and Sam. Bob and Julie are your favorites. Sam isn’t. When you think about it, you discover Bob is your favorite because he is fun to be around, easy-going and is always smiling. You realize Julie is your favorite because she does a significant amount of excellent work to keep the business going. You’ve remarked before that you wish you had ‘three more just like her.’
But Sam isn’t your favorite. You realize it’s because Sam is always cautious, weighing pros and cons and discussing the difficult practical steps that your vision will require. This rubs you the wrong way because you feel like Sam is always trying to shut down your dreams. But when you think about it further, you realize that some of Sam’s cautious actions, like getting that extra insurance, have protected your company from what could have been a disaster.
The way to crack the code
In this example, you can see the value of examining why your favorites are your favorites. When you discover the “why” behind your favorites, you may recognize the value that some employees offer that you hadn’t noticed before. This may cause you to respect their opinion and value their contributions, which is far better than just going with how you felt about them previously.
It’s easy to say ‘don’t play favorites.’Â It’s much harder to actually not do it. The way to crack the code and actually not play favorites is to dig down into why certain people are (and aren’t) your favorites. When you discover the “why”, you may not have to worry about ‘playing’ÃÂ favorites because you value everyone for their unique contributions.
The dark side
Let’s go back to the example and talk more about Bob. Bob is fun to be around, so you don’t want to lose him as an employee. But when you really think about it, you realize that Bob hasn’t really done his job. Furthermore, the work he does do isn’t that good. You’ve justified keeping him on payroll because he’s good for morale. After examining why he was your favorite, you realize that he may not be the best fit for your business.
Digging into why your favorites are your favorites may not always come up roses. You may realize that you need to make changes and that can be hard. But examining the ‘why’ÃÂ will lead you to discover what is best for your business. I recently watched this video where Barbara Corcoran explained how firing the bottom 25% of her sales staff was best for the business and actually what was best for them. Just because it may lead to hard decisions doesn’t mean you should abandon digging into the “why.”
Dig in, it’s best
Your business runs on your management. If you know why your favorites are your favorites, it will enable you to better manage your business. Dig in to your ‘why’ÃÂ today and change your management accordingly. It’s what’s best for your business.