According to the web site, the definition of sucking up is: ‘to behave in a very friendly, flattering, or kind manner to someone higher than you in order to get a benefit.’ Usually this is done in a very contrite and deceptive manner. A person says things and does things which they are not sincere about. We can all think of TV shows and movies where characters have done this and we sit there thinking how wrong that is and how they will be found out etc. The funny thing is, sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it, but rest assured others do. And how stupid you look to them!

About 6 years ago, I was working for a large mobile phone sales company and I was the store manager at one of their branches. There were about 15 stores in the metro area each with a store manager. One of these managers had aspirations to become the next Area Manager for the region. Nothing wrong with that. It’s good to have ambition. However, he crossed the line. His way of thinking was in order to get what he wanted, he would become the Area Manager unofficially and start ringing the other stores asking for figures for the day so far, putting out surveys via the company intranet and saying that we had to fill those out for the Area Manager and generally making everyone think that they had to do what he said. The current Area Manager found out about this and rewarded him with more responsibilities and praised him for showing initiative (I’d call it going over the Area Managers head wouldn’t you?). For awhile they were best buddies and this guy lost all respect of his peers, the other store managers. Then the time came for the Area Manager to move up the ladder and for someone else to fill his role. Guess who got the job? I’ll answer that a bit later.

Ok, so if sucking up isn’t all that cool, what can you do to be noticed by upper management and show them that you are a capable manager and looking for higher challenges? There are quite a few things you can do. I’ll tell you what I did. First and foremost:

1. Be genuine and sincere. Most managers are appointed because they are ‘people people’ which means they know how to read someone and how to get along with anyone. Nothing sticks out more than a person who is a fake.

2. Get to know your immediate superior. This is the person who will either recommend you for a promotion or not. Ask what their interests are, ask about their family, and talk about positive things about the company and so on. However, avoid at all costs being too personal. Stay professional in all your dealings with your manager. Go out for a coffee or lunch every now and then. That takes you both away from the office and you can have a chance to relax and talk about other things apart from work. Keep in mind though that your aim is not to become best friends. You only want them to get to know you and what you are capable of.

3. As a manager, you are not a nine to fiver anymore. At the job I loved the most, I was the first to arrive at the office in the mornings and the last to leave at night. That way I was able to get a security code and pass. I was able to prove that I was responsible and a hard worker and my sales team’s performance showed that. Put in the hours and let your results show it. Don’t put in long hours and slack off just to try to show your manager that you are dedicated to the company by the ‘long hours’ you are putting in.

4. Nothing puts a manager off more than a person who cannot get along with co workers especially when those co workers are people in his/her sales team. As a manager, you have to look beyond all the petty crap people tell you and remain impartial to office gossip and politics. It’s your job to keep it all together otherwise you will fail. There were lots of people that were hired by the company that I had to tolerate. I looked for some good points and I focused on them instead of what annoyed me about them. If you look hard enough, you will find something. You are there to get a job done and every person in your team has to contribute to the team’s success.

5. A very important one is no matter what happens, remain positive. Your team looks up to you for direction and if you falter, so will they. Whenever I was having a bad day, I removed myself from the situation and went for a walk or went down to the coffee shop to chill for awhile. Instead of focusing on the problem, I focused on the solution. Things can and do go wrong. If your manager sees that you crumble or crack at the first sign of a negative issue, then he won’t recommend you for a higher position. The higher you go in a company, the more stress and pressure there’s going to be. Remember, focus on the solution and not the problem.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Did that guy get the job as the Area Manager? No he did not. Someone from outside of the company got the job. For all his sucking up the bottom line was he wasn’t qualified enough for the role. What he did get was a loss of respect from his peers. The Area Manager however used him as a laky for some of his unpleasant tasks. Ah, what a jerk he was! I ran in to him about a year ago and there he was, in the same store, same position and looking very miserable. He tried very hard to upgrade my mobile phone but after his sales pitch, I just walked off. In this case, as far as I’m concerned, the best man got the job.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Andrew Bailey.I have been in various management roles for nearly 15 years. I have worked for small husband and wife companies to large telephony companies.