Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Kissing up to bosses at work

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I know this may sound simplistic but why do people who "kiss butt" rise so far when a good amount of the time they are obviously incompetent and don't add value to the company?

There have been so many times in my work life where the favor goes to the person who strokes egos more than the person who efficiently produces (I am thinking the favor is given by one who is of the same mold though)

Do you believe sooner or later it evens out and competence prevails?

I have never seen that happen unfortunately.

Sometimes I don't see the point in doing your best in any situation but I still do my best....to a point.

I am not sure...

Thanks

Edited by pam
Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact is, people, even bosses, like to have their ego stroked. It might be part of human nature that we all like to hear nice things about ourselves - as you've already observed at your job. Some people are better at butt-kissing than others. While no one likes an overt sycophant, it's a fact that personality DOES matter at work. It's a part of life that Objectivism doesn't really deal with. You can try simply putting your best personality out there without total butt kissing. See what happens.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this may sound simplistic but why do people who "kiss butt" rise so far when a good amount of the time they are obviously incompetent and don't add value to the company?

Its a matter of objectivity. The fact is, most people are guided by their emotions, ie: subjective. Their need to have their ego stroked, and their desire to surround themselves with other subjectivists both arise from the same underlying principle: the nature of the second hander. They are guided by "social metaphysics", they look to other people to justify their existence rather than looking inward and making value judgements based on their own assesment of reality, based on their own standards of value.

Do you believe sooner or later it evens out and competence prevails?

I have never seen that happen unfortunately.

Sometimes I don't see the point in doing your best in any situation but I still do my best....to a point.

It depends on what you mean by "prevail", but be carefull, this line of thinking will lead you to the same traps the people youre referring to are stuck in. You shouldnt do your best to get noticed by the boss, or to get a raise. And you shouldnt concern yourself with "kiss ass" second handers who make it to the top by selling out their own integrity. You should do your best for yourself, because productivity is a virtue to strive for. Rand in Atlas Shrugged said productiveness is your "recognition of the fact that you choose to live", and thats not something to take lightly. Also, its "remaking the earth in the image of ones values". Look at the ass kissers, what do they value? Do your best with integrity and youll always prevail in the sense that matters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are good reasons and bad for why yes-men seem to get further:

Good: It is an objective value to be surrounded by people who are socially easier to get along with. Less mind-jarring takes place because of an off comment, and less self-positive mood enhancing as a counter needs to happen with easy personalities, as opposed to someone who is difficult.

Some general managers need their under-managers to just be alert and do what they are told, and no more. I work in a food warehouse where not much changes from day-to-day, and all major decisions are made by two men; twelve men or so beneath them make sure those decisions happen, and not much else is required of them.

(Possible) Bad: There are of course those people who are more concerned with what upper management thinks of them instead of what value they actually represent to the company. There are managers who just like to be told they are right. Both of these types of employees are poison to a company, but nevertheless they remain. Take your guess as to what that says about humanity or the business world at large. From what I've seen, bad managers/employees to good is a ratio of (at least) 8 to 1.

Edited by JASKN
Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this may sound simplistic but why do people who "kiss butt" rise so far when a good amount of the time they are obviously incompetent and don't add value to the company?

There have been so many times in my work life where the favor goes to the person who strokes egos more than the person who efficiently produces (I am thinking the favor is given by one who is of the same mold though)

Do you believe sooner or later it evens out and competence prevails?

I have never seen that happen unfortunately.

Sometimes I don't see the point in doing your best in any situation but I still do my best....to a point.

I am not sure...

Thanks

Some additional info about your situation would definitely be helpful.

That said, lets look at a couple things:

1)yes, sometimes people do rise within a company on things other than objective merit applied to their job. These can be a lot of things including nepotism, cronyism, blackmail on the boss but also some things less nefarious. Take a person who works in sales- most people who work in sales need to be ..um... personable. There are always going to be a couple unquantifiable traits that help people get ahead.

2)when looking at the company that you feel wronged by it is helpful to remember that as a private business they have every right to give raises and promotions on whatever basis they choose. Instead of feeling victimised take accountability for yourself. Keep doing the hard work and if that isn't what is rewarded at your own company it will be their loss when you find someone who does value you.

3)it is easy to look outside yourself and assign blame. Just as you should take full credit and pride for what you accomplish you should also look within for what is holding you back. It is easy to say that people are rising faster than you because they "kiss-ass" but maybe you should sit down and define what this ass-kissing behavior you see in people rising faster than you consists of.

Presumably in a successful company the boss works long hours. That means that the personal and the professional will often become intertwined. That means the ideal candidate for positions that work closely with many bosses will not just be good at their jobs, but also pleasant to deal with.

Everyone has their own style at work. Some people are very nose to the grindstone, some- and these are the people that tend to get ahead fastest in a variety of jobs- make everything look effortless and pleasant.

So it is a good time to do an objective inventory of how you interact with people at work compared to how others interact. Are they really kissing ass or are they just more socially at ease than you, more easy going and personable? If you aren't naturally a "people person" it is understandable you might feel resentment against people who are moving up faster than you due to something you do not consider important.

Finally, please dont take my post as an accusation. I just wanted to present the other side, from a business owner's prospective.

In all things the easiest to change is our own behaviors, so best to look for flaws there first.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see now (thanks all) there IS a difference between kissing up and being pleasant to work with-I never thought of that before and appreciate the idea.

I do customer service over the phone right now.

Sometimes yes I do blame others before looking at myself first-that is human nature no?

Re: Ayn Rand-none of her noble characters ever seemed particularly personable-some were actually quite antisocial with people they didnt value...another thread maybe...

thanks!

Edited by pam
Link to post
Share on other sites
Finally, please dont take my post as an accusation. I just wanted to present the other side, from a business owner's prospective.

I dont take it that way at all-I appreciate all the posts here, they helped me clarify a few things. Now time to take a look at the ways I can maybe change (but I am perfect so I dont know what I can do...lol NOT)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sometimes yes I do blame others before looking at myself first-that is human nature no?
Assuming your question was not rhetorical, the answer is that it is not human nature to blame others rather than oneself. One sees people who routinely blame others and fail to see their own faults; yet, some people routinely think they themselves are screwed yup and are screwing up more than everyone else. Since we can work on our nature, the ideal is to aim for an attitude that is reality-based: not biased to offensiveness or defensiveness.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Ayn Rand-none of her noble characters ever seemed particularly personable-some were actually quite antisocial with people they didnt value...another thread maybe...

I put in bold the important factor of your phrase.

When you aren't pleasant people feel unvalued.

Sometimes one is in a position to do that.

When you aren't in a position to do that however it is best to find something anything to value in a person and behave pleasant as if only to that one facet of them. For example.. your boss has a value you desire- a raise and advancement.

In other words- don't think "I'm not being pleasant to the lout who wears too much cheap cologne, endlessly repeats jokes from The Office, stands to close to me and gets away with doing as little work as possible" Think- "I'm maintaining cordial relations with the person who is writing my next review, the review upon which my next raise will be based".

As to Rand's characters... while they had little time for people they didn't value they were very pleasant and charming and relaxed when amongst their peers. And of course there's my favourite- Francisco who always seemed to me like he'd be a riot to hang out with.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In other words- don't think "I'm not being pleasant to the lout who wears too much cheap cologne, endlessly repeats jokes from The Office, stands to close to me and gets away with doing as little work as possible" Think- "I'm maintaining cordial relations with the person who is writing my next review, the review upon which my next raise will be based".

OK you are saying be cordial not the person's bff-makes sense-thanks

Edited by pam
Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not understanding this sentence. thanks.
people often ask themselves: "Did I do something wrong?" before they blame themselves. I was responding to the aside in your post. People have different characteristic reactions. Some look to blame others even when they ought to be looking inwards. Others look inwards when they ought to be looking elsewhere.
Link to post
Share on other sites

people often ask themselves: "Did I do something wrong?" before they blame themselves. I was responding to the aside in your post. People have different characteristic reactions. Some look to blame others even when they ought to be looking inwards. Others look inwards when they ought to be looking elsewhere.

thanks for clarifying your point - it makes total sense.

I really need to think alot on this thread

but I am glad I started it. ty again

Pam

Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked at a large company for a while before I went off and started my own business.

The reason is because people in large companies want a:) to keep their job, and b:) to get a promotion. Since this applies near universally to everyone in the company, naturally there is competition within the workforce. When one feels like they can trust someone as a loyal friend or ally, they tend to want that support around them as much as possible and they will bring them along if they get promoted.

Someone who is an independent producer can be very threatening.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...