Go Ahead, Play Favorites

Laura Tiebert
March 14, 2019

This gold cover is my favorite.  Too bad for the other colors!

A good leader is fair and equitable. A good leader might feel more positive about one team member than the other but treats them both the same. A good leader makes sure all team members get an equal chance and equal assignments. Right?

Wrong! The best leaders play favorites all the time. Leaders lean on the people who show they are willing to say yes to the organization. Why struggle to convince people who are resistant to doing what needs to be done — whether that’s a business, or a band? Playing favorites can be viewed as a way of going with the flow. In a competitive world, playing favorites can give your organization a competitive advantage.

If Prince ever had a band member who wasn’t willing to do the work (“Are we really going to work these hours?” “I need to get home for (insert event),” they got left behind. Your work ethic is one way to make yourself a favorite. If you were a girlfriend, however, I think the playing favorites tendency wouldn’t be any fun at all. Your time basking in the sunshine of his attention would be heavenly, but the inevitable fall? Ouch. That would be tremendously painful.

But, back to color. Prince would become besotted by a certain color and wear it, sing about, buy a car in that color, get his band members to wear complementary colors — he was unabashedly playing color favorites. As I mentioned yesterday, he went through a yellow period in the early 90s that makes me happy. But the yellow period eventually ended and we wound up with Prince wearing an electric blue jumpsuit with his hair in pigtails by the end of the 20th century. I guess you could say that all good things never last. There was great controversy in 2017 when Tyka Nelson declared that her brother’s favorite color was orange, not purple. I’m sure orange did have his heart in some period of time. But Prince was never going to be fenced in with one favorite for his whole life. He rolled with his emotions and happily embraced his next favorite color.


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