Kiss-A** Coworkers: More Destructive Than You Think

Filed Under Mind Mapping

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Owen Ray

August 29, 2013

Apple polishers. Brown-nosers. A**-kissers. Whatever you call them, they’re probably some of the most irritating and potentially destructive people on your team. Yes, lazy coworkers are bothersome, but they would never do anything to hurt you, lest they be caught slacking off and promptly forced to do some actual work.

Even complainers and gossips are pretty much all talk — so really, there’s hardly anyone in your office that can do as much damage as the kiss-up. Not only are they detrimental to team morale, but in reality? They might be out to get you.

Butt-Kissers Aren’t as Nice as They Seem

How can someone who spends all their time trying to get ahead by stroking the boss’s ego hurt you? Even those on the receiving end of the fawning and flattery have to be irritated by it, right? That may well be true, but you have to consider the butt-kisser’s motives to understand the danger.

First, they’re trying to climb the corporate ladder by polishing boots, rather than polishing up whatever it is they’re supposed to be working on. They’re spending all day being the perfect lackey instead of focusing on their work.

Second, they’re usually also perfectly willing to move up by climbing atop the bodies of their coworkers. Backstabbing is the most-used device from your local brown-noser’s toolkit, and they take zero issue with putting you down to make themselves look better. They are much more likely to tattle on you for mistakes than help you correct slip-ups before they get out. No matter who you are, the butt-kisser is not your friend. They are not (usually) kissing up due to an inferiority complex or to make other people feel good about themselves; they’re doing it to advance at all costs. And that means snubbing out the competition — including you.

How to Spot a Brown-Noser

The office backscratcher can wear some devious disguises. They’ll always pretend to have your back; they’ll sit back and listen to all of your complaints about your boss and your company, and be the first person to voluntarily accompany you on a much-needed coffee-and-rant break. The appearance of a sympathetic cohort is always there — that is, until they take everything you say out of context and narc you out to the boss to make you look bad. Trust an ass-kisser as much as you would a guy with a trench coat full of $50.00 Rolexes. It’s all fake. Walk away and never look back.

These sneaky buggers may also be hiding out behind the facade of your good ol’ yes man/woman. They never have any original ideas, and will always champion what the higher-ups have planned. Worse yet, they’re willing to pump up your best ideas — so long as they have enough time to go behind your back and take credit for them. Rest assured that any success this teacher’s pet finds will not be shared with you. Once you discover them, don’t fall victim to their self-serving traps.

How to Foil a Flunky

One-upping a skilled boot-polisher can be tough if your superiors are falling for the lapdog’s shtick. Whatever you do, don’t try to play their game. It’ll not only make you less productive — since you’re a normal person and not a natural at kissing cans — you won’t be able to beat them at something they’re arguably really good at. But, you might be able to get what you need by kissing up to the butt-kisser. Yes, this is horrible. Yes, it will make you want to punch yourself in the face. But it could get the butt-kisser to slip and give you some much-needed info.

Keep in mind that the veteran brown-noser is basically a self-appointed mouthpiece for management. You hear what they say, and in turn, you know what management really wants (which hopefully isn’t a nice smooch on the rear). This can give you a chance to do what you do best: your job. And that’s the #1 way to defend yourself against the Smoocher of Posteriors — outperform them in every way possible. Since you’re not spending all day figuring out how to gain the favor of your boss or saying yes to every single half-baked idea that comes from up top, you’re actually innovating. And that’s sure to make you shine bright enough that even the most enamored of brown nose-ees will be sure to notice.

Bonus? With all of the attention on you and your great ideas, you’ll come out on top while Mr. or Mrs. Sycophant stays stuck squarely at the (literal) bottom.