The Benefits Of ‘Sucking Up’ To Your Boss

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Ingratiating yourself to the boss isn’t just a good way to move up the corporate ladder; a new study suggests “sucking up” can actually help you avoid psychological distress.

Sycophants unite — it turns out that sucking up to the boss can be healthy.

A study recently published in the Journal of Management Studies is likely to be re-tweeted by bosses everywhere, as researchers found that ingratiating yourself to your employers (also known as “sucking up”) can have benefits for both your career and your mental health.

The study reports that savvy professionals who use ingratiation as a career aid may avoid the psychological distress encountered by other, less cunning members of workplace culture. Employees who don’t use ingratiation can become ostracized, experiencing more job tension, emotional exhaustion and depressed moods at work.

Researchers examined the relationship between workplace ostracism and employee psychological distress, with a focus on moderating effects of ingratiation and political skill. The study surveyed 215 employees from two oil and gas companies in China.

“Our data confirmed that workplace ostracism was positively related to psychological distress,” explains Ho Kwong Kwan, one of the study’s authors. “We found that ingratiation neutralized the relationship between workplace ostracism and psychological distress when used by employees with a high level of political skill.

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