To continue with my comments on the book by Marshall
Goldsmith, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” this
week I will be discussing the habit of: Playing Favorites.
It’s always so easy to spot the derriere kisser when it is
happening to someone else. You know the type of suck-up
that I’m talking about. It’s the one who tries to get as
much “face time” as possible with the boss and who seems
to be overly complimentary to everything the boss says or
However when it happens to us, are we really that
perceptive in spotting the person with that tinge of brown
on the nose?
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: The fact is that we like people
who like us. And for those of us in senior management
roles and owners of businesses, we very seldom get “pats
on the back.” As such getting a compliment for the work
we do from anybody, even from a subordinate, feels good.
Where we tend to cross the line is in the amount of “face
time” that we give to a suck-up relative to others in the
organization. And trust me, other employees are
monitoring that 1-on-1 interaction.
Over the years, I have had my share of suck-ups reporting
to me. What I have realized is that I’m not going to
change a person with this tendency. All that I can do is
ensure that I provide equal time to other subordinates and
then do my best to just thank the “groupie” for his/her
compliments and get right back to business.