Sure, you could get that pay raise by working harder. But frankly, who can be bothered? Particularly when there's an alternative: applying the lessons of modem psychology to the ancient folk art of sucking up to your boss.
University of Minnesota psychologist Randall Gordon, Ph.D., surveyed four decades of research on "ingratiation"--getting people to like you. Alas, brownnosing is more likely to boost your popularity than your paycheck, Gordon reports. Still, by carefully tailoring your ingratiation efforts, you can shift the odds of a raise in your favor. Some tips to remember:
o If your boss is only a step above you on the corporate ladder, the most potent brownnosing techniques are flattery, agreeing with his or her opinion, and doing favors. If your supervisor is many rungs above you, however, paying compliments is by far the most effective strategy for getting him or her to like you. While conforming to a high-status person's point of view won't win you popularity points, it may help you get a raise.
o Less is more. Using several brownnosing methods at once isn't as effective as concentrating on one good one.