The “Boss’s Pet”

I’m sure we all remember from our school days about the Teacher’s Pet.  I’d like to think since I never had that name applied to me that I was somehow lucky because no one was making fun of me.  However, looking back with a clearer perspective, I was not ever getting the same attention from the teacher as their pet did.

Just like in our classrooms, for better or worse, our offices are now populated with the Boss’s Pets for lack of better words.  Those few individuals who get all the attention and credit from the manager or owner leaving the rest of us wondering what to do next.  Blame it on the 80/20 rule, but most managers devote a majority of their time to only 20 percent of their employees – the high performers.

For those of you that support the 80/20 rule of efficiency this might sound like a very productive use of the manager’s time and attention.  However, a manager should be looking at ways to develop the full potential of all employees, and not ignoring the majority for expediency or favoritism.

We all know that everyone can contribute to the operation in some way if we tap the right shoulder for the right job.  The only way we can make this happen is to engage with everyone that we have decided to include in our team.  As managers we must devote more time to the neglected 80 percent of our workforce and make them aware of their value.

One of my favorite rebuttal phrases to managers that like to spout off that we are an “at will employer” is that “At Will Employers Hire At Will Employees.”  I guess if the 20 percent of your workforce could do all the work, who really cares if the other 80 percent leave, right?  I mean you would be in good shape for the next round of layoffs if this is correct.

Now although I was never marked as a Teacher’s Pet I have had the title of Boss’s Pet, and it comes with a lot of jealousy and in all fairness very justifiable.  I got all the benefits from the role, but I paid dearly in relationships with my peers.  When I have been in the manager’s role I have had to fight the urge to show favoritism to some, and yet being a trainer first and foremost has helped me to realize the value in building everyone’s competencies.

So here is your action item this very second.  Write down all the names of the people on your team, and circle your most valuable players, then cross out the names of everyone else.  Now, can you make it work with the circled names left on the list, or is it time to devote yourself to everyone on the team?  And before I forget, shred that list before someone sees it and gets the wrong idea!


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