Friday, October 01, 2004

Sucking Up

Sucking up works. As a report tonight on ABC's 20/20 revealed, studies have confirmed what we all thought - that bosses love suckups.

I've witnessed the extreme suckup's success in a number of organizations I've been in. Two of the best examples are recent. In one case a 50-year-old employee, a high-ranking officer in the Army Reserve, starting sucking up to our new boss the minute she stormed onto the scene. At group meetings he would periodically grab her coffee cup and leave to get her some fresh coffee. At first I thought he was just chivalrous but when he repeatedly ignored the other women in the meetings it became embarrassingly obvious he had his lips attached firmly to the the boss' butt. I say embarrassingly but the suck up showed no embarrassment of his own. We were embarrassed for him. Yes, and it was the suck up that was promoted.

In the other case I was on a project with a young lady that showed me suck up techniques I could only admire but did not want to emulate. She put extra effort into finding out where the boss would be and when and making certain she was there when he was and gone when he wasn't. When she talked to him she praised his wisdom and lamented that he had to depend on so many fools. When the three of us were together she would make it a point to ask me about tasks she knew I had not completed yet. When she and the boss were talking in her office next to mine I could hear her trying to convince the boss that my ideas were wrong. When I would confront her she would deny it. I couldn't bring myself to engage in these tactics and I soon found myself on the outside while she was invited into the executive meetings with our boss.

So yes, sucking up works. So why can't I bring myself to do it?

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