Dear Dr. Lisa,
I need your advice. My boss has her favorite employee. She is nice to everyone but it is clear that she likes Jane very much. Jane gets all the opportunities for visibility and advancement. I am very frustrated. I am not sure how to get my manager to pay attention to me, as well. Jane is great, but I am no chopped liver.
Steak, not chopped liver
You are indeed correct. You are steak, not chopped liver! This issue of favoritism is an age-old problem that happens all the time. The truth of the matter is, this situation is not about you. It is about the manager and her relationship with Jane. Many managers mean well, but they often miss the mark. Gender and racial differences further complicate matters. Our brains are wired to be attracted to those that are most like us. We will have to forgive her for the miss. That said, let’s focus on how to get you what you want – opportunity.
If your manager is the kind of person that would care about career development, then build the kind of relationship that gets her invested in your success. Get her involved in your goals and your plans for development. Keep her engaged so she looks forward to hearing every step of your progress. Like any good evolving story, she will come to care about the character in that story (you) and want to see how it ends – in victory, of course. And when it does, make sure you give her credit for supporting you along the way.
If your manager cares more about herself than the development of her staff, then find a way to add value to her agenda. Make her look good and see if you can meet your needs and hers too. I knew of a manager once who was self-serving and he took care of those around him who took care of him.
If your manager would not be responsive to either of these approaches, get a new manager.
Good luck Steak!
PS – Your theme song is “Baby I’m a Star” by Prince