You’re a smart person with great ideas. Other people may not see this but I do. It’s because of this that I want to tell you about a key way to get your boss to like you. Because a boss who likes you will give you better assignments, more time off, and better pay. Even for the same performance.
It turns out that flattering the boss is one of the best things you can do. And there’s no upper limit beyond which he will see you as a blatant ass-kisser. (Caveats below!)
It’s weird, because you know that if someone flatters you insincerely, you see right through them. You’re smarter and more savvy than most people. You see right through this type of thing. This causes you to not want to be a suck-up at work, since you don’t want to be known as an insincere brown-noser.
Except that, as Jeffrey Pfeffer points out in his book, POWER: Why Some People Have It — And Others Don’t, the research shows that ass-kissing (the technical term) gets results. And you need to know what to do to get ahead of those losers you work with.
Most people underestimate the effectiveness of flattery and therefore underutilize it…. There is simply no question that the desire to believe that flattery is at once sincere and accurate will, in most instances, leave us susceptible to being flattered and, as a consequence, under the influence of the flatterer. So, don’t underestimate — or underutilize — the strategy of flattery. University of California—Berkeley professor Jennifer Chatman, in an unpublished study, sought to see if there was some point beyond which flattery became ineffective. She believed that the effectiveness of flattery might have an inverted U-shaped relationship, with flattery being increasingly effective up to some point but beyond that becoming ineffective as the flatterer became seen as insincere and a “suck up.” As she told me, there might be a point at which flattery became ineffective, but she couldn’t find it in her data.
That’s right: there is no upper bound to the effectiveness of flattery. Regrettably, Prof. Chatman has not seen fit to publish these results.
Thankfully, she’s not the only one writing about this. More on that tomorrow.