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Kissing up to the boss can get you ahead, but comes with a cost

Sucking up to your boss may be an effective strategy to get ahead in your career, but new research has found that it can be costly to your wellbeing and work relationships.

Researchers from Oregon State University conducted a study examining the work lives of professionals to see if time spent getting in the boss’s good graces impacted performance or interactions with other employees.

The results were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

75 mid-level managers in a large software company located in China participated in the study and the researchers observed the employees for two weeks while they went about their jobs.

The participants were also asked to record their daily workplace experiences and were given a survey that measured their political skill (social abilities) at work and influence over others, according to the Daily Mail which reported on the study.

Researchers focused on how the participants interacted with their superiors, looking to see what tactics were used to impress management.

Ingratiation is a common tactic where an employee will suck up in an effort to get ahead and maintain their position in the workplace.

Self-promotion is another tactic that the researchers noticed the participants used.

While these tactics may help cement your place at the top of the office food chain, the researchers also found that there were some costly ramifications.

The employees who used self-promoting tactics were more likely to be rude to their co-workers and their day to day work performance suffered as well, most likley because sucking up to the boss takes a good deal of energy.

“When your energy is depleted, it may nudge you into slack-off territory,” Anthony Klotz, the lead author of the paper, told the Daily Mail.

If a participant had scored higher on the political skill tests, the researchers noticed that ingratiation was not as draining.

The results show the mental toll that can come with sucking up although tactics to find favor with a boss or supervisor can be advantageous in the long run.

“It’s also important to note that the depleting effects of ingratiation are immediate, but the workplace benefits of those acts tend to build over the long term,” Lawrence Houston III, a co-author of the study, told the Daily Mail.

Employers should also be mindful of their employee’s ingratiation efforts and respond with positive reinforcement to help limit costly energy depletion which will improve the work environment overall.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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