The good news is that the boss likes you best. The bad news is ... the boss likes you best.
You’d think that being your boss’s favorite is all good news. You enjoy job security and nice perks, from frequent promotions to flexible hours to lots of face time with the powers-that-be.
But you know what? There are drawbacks too. For one thing, and this is a biggie, the resulting resentment of your colleagues may cause you real problems. Even if you’re working hard for the goodies the boss is showering on you, your favored place inevitably makes people like you less, trust you less, support you less and include you less (even in areas you really need to be included in).
There’s also a second, less obvious, danger: Overly cozy relationships with superiors can be damaging to you and your career. Think about it. You can’t learn and grow if you aren’t being seriously challenged. You will never know if your successes are truly yours, which is ultimately demotivating. Colleagues and clients may take you less seriously, or only see you in terms of your relationship with your superior. Your fate becomes entangled with that of your boss, making your boss’s failures your failures. Your creativity and ability to think independently may not develop the way it should. Worse, you could get promoted to a position you’re not ready for, and this could be your downfall.
All this is not to say that you should actively discourage, or fail to appreciate, your boss’s warm feelings toward you. That would be crazy. But you should definitely comport yourself with caution.
For example, you should take pains to be as inclusive as possible. Always share credit with your co-workers. Talk up their abilities and accomplishments, and stress that any successes are due to great teamwork.
In addition, never take advantage of or flaunt your position. Stay humble, remain professional, and be scrupulously fair in all your dealings. Do avoid turning into a middleman between your boss and the rest of the team by not sharing confidential information the boss tells you and by refusing to deliver messages from colleagues to the boss.
Finally, keep in mind that bosses who play favorites may frequently like to change favorites, too. Next week — or month or year — you could be looking for ways to manage your boss’s new golden child.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use and of the novel “The Paris Effect.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.