How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Without Sucking Up |

How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Without Sucking Up


Sucking up. Kissing ass. Brown-nosing. Wearing the corporate knee pads. Is it mandatory to get ahead in the workplace?

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Some say that flattery will get you everywhere – while others vehemently warn against such a practice. The definition of sucking up is not black and white. Little compliments here, a few extra unpaid hours there. Where does one draw the line between flattery and blatant ass kissing?

But there are a few things you can do to get ahead that wont make you feel like a dirty brownnoser.

Wherever that line sits, brown-nosing actually does work in some instances. It’s been scientifically proven.

Why? Because it’s human nature. We’re attracted to people who have similar views. And when someone agrees with us, we feel more inclined to interact with them.

The problem presents itself when the agreeing, the compliments, and the flattery become insincere. And the recipient is unable to differentiate.

So how do you get ahead in the workplace? Do you employ the tactic of brownnosing, and if so, how far do you take it?

Every workplace, every coworker, and every situation is unique. But there are a few things you can do to get ahead that wont make you feel like a dirty brownnoser.

  1. Be on time, and if you can, be early. Nothing says, “I don’t value other people’s time” like being late. Be on time or even early for work. Show up to meetings a few minutes early to help set up. People might not always notice that you’re early, but they DO notice when you’re late.
  2. Take some extra initiative. If no one is taking notes in a meeting, why not do it? Identify ways to improve internal process and suggest ways to implement your ideas.
  3. Ditch the sweatpants. When we’ve been in a job for a long period of time, we tend to get comfortable. Wearing sweatpants to work? You might want to rethink that. What happens when the clients pop in for an impromptu meeting? Who do you think your boss wants in the meeting? You and your sweatpants, or your coworker wearing dress pants?
  4. During work hours, do work. Groundbreaking right? Are you the person who is always texting your boyfriend or girlfriend? Taking calls from your friends during the day? People notice.
  5. Keep track of your successes, because nobody else will. When you go into your performance reviews, you need to highlight your accomplishments. Be sure to track your major achievements and set goals for yourself. This will illustrate your motivation within the organization.
  6. Be social and mind your body language. Participate in your company’s events, go for coffee or grab lunch with your coworkers. Speak up in meetings and always remember to keep open and welcoming body language. When you’re hunching in a corner with your arms crossed, you send the message that you’re not interested in being there.
  7. Ask if you can help. When you see your boss or your coworkers run off their feet, ask if there is any way you can assist. It’s a great opportunity to show that you’re a true team player.
  8. Focus on managing the relationships. Interoffice relationships are like any other in that they require work. Nurturing those relationships means taking an interest in your boss and your coworkers as individuals. Understanding what makes them tick, and working with them accordingly.
  9. Be open to learning more about yourself. Sometimes we might not realize how others perceive us. What we might see as a self-sufficient working style can come off as arrogant or anti-social to others. Remember to turn the mirror on yourself from time to time and be open to constructive criticism and feedback.
  10. Respect yourself and respect the people you work with/for. Respecting your boss, not kissing his or her ass will take you a lot further than the occasional forced compliment. And respect yourself by understanding your limits and boundaries when it comes to what you’ll do to climb that corporate ladder. Remember, if it makes you feel gross, don’t do it.

So what have we learned today? Be on time, work hard, don’t be a jerk, take extra initiative here and there, and let your work speak for itself. Never stop learning, growing, and climbing.

  • Brian Richards

    Good suggestions