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Why kissing up to your boss can be a bad idea in the long term - study

And why a new study says that hard work really does pay off.

Image: Unsplash

EVERY WORKPLACE HAS ONE – the office kiss-up. They spend their time brown-nosing the boss and flattering all members of senior management in the company.

They’re the first person to brag about their hard work and they’re constantly seeking recognition and praise. But does it get them anywhere?

Well, new research from Oregon State University has shown that kissing up to your boss at work can boost employees’ careers in the short-term.

However, the study found that in the long-term, it depletes employees’ self-control resources which makes them more susceptible to behaving badly in the workplace.

Speaking about the research, Anthony Klotz, an associate professor at the College of Business at Oregon State University and lead author of the paper said, ”There’s a personal cost to ingratiating yourself with your boss. When your energy is depleted, it may nudge you into slack-off territory.”

For the study Klotz, Houston and their co-authors examined how 75 professionals in China used impression management tactics, ingratiation and self-promotion while supervised.

Ingratiation, or kissing up includes things like flattery and doing favours, while self-promotion refers to taking credit for success. The participants completed daily diary surveys about their workplace experiences and social abilities.

The researchers found that the extent to which employees engaged in ingratiation varied widely from day-to-day. They also found that the more employees engaged in kissing up, the more their self-control resources were depleted by the end of the day.

The depleted employees were more likely to engage in workplace deviance such as rudeness to a co-worker, skipping a meeting or surfing the internet rather than working. There was no evidence of a similar link between self-promotion and resource depletion, the researchers said.

So, if you really want to get ahead maybe you should spend less time kissing up to your boss and more time keeping your head down. It turns out that hard work really does pay off.

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About the author:

Alice Murray

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