How to Avoid Creating Lapdogs at Work


“Lap dogs historically were kept in many societies around the world by individuals with leisure time, as docile companion animals with no working function.” Wikipediahow to avoid favoritism

We’ve all seen “lap dogs” at work.  They can be seen as the favorites of the boss and, to many of us, as ineffective or not really pulling their weight.  Maybe that’s true or too harsh but the main point is that leaders need to be aware of them and avoid favoritism. The consequences of not doing that are just too great.

How to Avoid Suck Ups and Favoritism by Marshall Goldsmith

I have reviewed more than 100 custom-designed leadership profiles for major corporations – and have helped write over 50. These documents typically feature motivational language that describes the leadership practices companies desire – such as “communicates a clear vision”, “helps people develop to their maximum potential,” “strives to see the value of differing opinions,” and “avoids playing favorites.”

One item I have never read is “effectively fawns over executive  management.” While almost every company says it wants people to “challenge the system,” “be empowered to express your opinion,” and “say what you really think,” there sure are a lot of people who are stuck on sucking up!

Most of us are easily irritated–if not disgusted–by derriere kissers. Which raises a question: If leaders say they discourage sucking up, why does it happen so often? Here’s a straightforward answer: Without meaning to, we all tend to create an environment where people learn to reward others with accolades that aren’t really warranted. We can see this very clearly in other people. We just can’t see it in ourselves.

So now you may be thinking, “This guy Goldsmith is right. It’s amazing how leaders send out subtle signals that encourage subordinates to mute their criticisms and exaggerate their praise of the powers that be. And it’s surprising how they can’t see themselves doing it.

Of course, Goldsmith isn’t talking about me. I don’t do this in my company.” And maybe you’re right. But how can you be so sure that you’re not in denial? Read more >>

Guidelines for Managing Your Mentor Relationships by Lois Zachary

One of my favorite children’s stories is Seven Blind Mice. It struck me that this familiar tale offers some valuable lessons about an increasingly popular form of mentoring, the board of directors (sometimes referred to as mosaic mentoring).

Having diverse and multiple mentors with different backgrounds, experiences and ideas can guide you to new discoveries, facilitate your growth and development as a leader, enhance your capability and expand your capacity as a leader. This model is not for everyone but it is for you if prepare yourself, carefully select your mentors, set the tone at the first meeting, create momentum, and commit to the relationship.

Prepare. Make sure that you make the time to reflect on your purpose for creating a BOD. Clarify your own goals, objectives and intention. Consider what it is you are willing to contribute to the relationship. Be willing to candidly share your needs, expectations and limits. Identify the characteristics you are looking for in each of your BOD mentors. In doing so, reflect on your past mentoring relationships and what was most helpful to you.

Read more about how to nurture and get the most out of your mentoring relationships >>

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