Ingratiating yourself to the boss is a necessary evil. You can improve at it and even save some of your last scraps of dignity by taking a somewhat indirect approach, as suggested by a survey of Fortune 1000 executives.
Photo by DoctorWho.
By examining how employees obtained board seats at various big firms, researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan came to some conclusions about the best kind of flattery. Among the findings:
- Frame it as a question: Asking for advice can be just as flattering as a compliment. And it's a lot easier for all parties involved to stomach.
- Bait and switch: Disagree with your target and then gradually warm to their opinion. No one likes a "Yes" man, but everyone likes a "'No,' then 'Yes'" man.
- Play the angles: Find a third-party, ideally a close confidant of your subject, and gush like a schoolgirl. Odds are, the praise will be passed on to its intended target.
The common thread found in all the findings, more of which are listed at the full FINS Finance post, is that you get further by casually, occasionally working a good word or gracious conversation into your work week than by marching into the executive office and telling Kelly that you like his/her hair.
If you've got a story you can stomach sharing with the rest of us of how flattery worked for you (or on you), tell us about it in the comments.
Kissing up Like a Pro: A New Study Says How to Do It Right [FINS Finance]