Leaders in organizations and companies must conduct themselves professional at all times. There must not be any inkling that you find someone attractive/sexy/handsome/smarter--far better than the rest--if you hope to build a successful organization.
Workers pay attention to their surroundings and even if they don't act envious, behave in unprofessional ways, or appear nonchalant about worker favoritism, doesn't mean they are not thinking--wondering what might come of the business or worse one's position.
A leader can avoid misrepresenting one's self as "playing favorites" if he or she keeps in mind the following:
1. Workers are not and should not be buddies, best of friends etc. There is a fine line between being friends and having an employee relationship. What happens when one is hurt over a criticism, chooses to promote someone who isn't a friend, or dismisses a best buddy from a project/office/job etc.?
2. Limit closed door meetings. How many times does your office door close when you meet with certain individuals to discuss personal plans/goals/thoughts? It is safe to assume that you just might have a favorite or two and it is also safe to assume that it is only a matter of time that good times won't last for long inside or outside your office door.
3. Think before you plan celebratory events. Will all employees get the same treatment or only those you like or have a personal connection? For instance, is the favored employee's baby shower more important than everyone else in the department who is having a baby? If you can't afford it, don't plan it!
4. Watch how you react to not-so favorite employee issues. Are you ears often open to a certain employee with concerns, but closed when it comes to others?
5. Doing way more than you should for a few? Are you doing things like: giving favorite workers rides home, buying expensive gifts, allowing them to take days off anytime they want while inconveniencing other staff, ignoring bad habits and mistakes, and doing other things that cause problems with operations and employee relationships?
These thoughts and more are worth considering. Be sure you are not playing favorites between employees because of the following: age, familiarity, appearance i.e.) body weight, skin tone, hue of eyes or texture of hair, personal opinion, family ties, fraternal associations, voice accent, his or her personal connections, or others' influence.
If you must share personal details of your life, meet away from the office. If you or someone you know has a personal agenda to hire, fire, promote, or demote select individuals, avoid doing things like: share this sort of information with favorites (who might not want to be favorites), lie or cover up the truth about those who you don't like, or rely on others (typically favorites) to do your dirty work.
Nicholl McGuire, author of Know Your Enemy: The Christian's Critic
How to Avoid Worker Favoritism