Suck Up

By nature, I tend to be obedient and compliant.

It wasn’t unusual for me to be the “teacher’s pet” or to be accused of “brown-nosing” as I climbed the corporate ladder.

I used to get really frustrated when others would make those accusations ,because really and truly I just wanted to do the right thing, to do the best job I possibly could.  And a little affirmation from those in authority isn’t a bad trade off for all that work.

I’m noticing a drift in the leadership season I’m in.  Standing a little further up the proverbial ladder, I’m not so much accused of these things as others are accused of sucking up to me.

With a different view and perspective, I’m realizing something very significant about this age-old element of human nature:

It’s not sucking up if you mean it.

I can tell the difference between those who just want something from me and others who sincerely want to do the right thing for God-honoring reasons.

But I’ve also noticed another little issue in all of this…

Some of the people who have the best intentions hold back from giving their best, affirming an idea, agreeing with a solution, offering praise or encouragement, etc because they are afraid of the perception of their peers.

It’s funny how so much of life comes back to the attitude and intent of our hearts.

God designed for us to live and work in community.  Beautiful, healthy, God-honoring relationships propel His work forward.

Don’t let the perception of others keep you from giving your best. 

Remember, it’s not sucking up if you mean it!

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  • Anonymous July 21, 2011  

    What a great perspective! Though I was certain I’d be voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school, my awesome (sarcasm intended there) classmates voted me Biggest Brown-Noser instead. While my mom threw a fit over the [according to her] vulgar term, I was just confused. Teachers liked me because I did good work and behaved with respect. How was that wrong?

    It’s the same situation in the workplace, as you’ve described here – and I am thankful for your take on it. There’s a huge difference between insincere flattery and genuine kindness. I’m sure those reporting to you are glad you see that!

  • Jrlconsulting July 21, 2011  

    Jenni this is so true!  Thanks for theh great reminder.

  • Rachel July 21, 2011  

    REALLY great point. Being one of those kind of girls myself, and tending not to do or say things I genuinely mean or want to do for fear others will view me as a suck up makes me appreciate the truth of your words all the more. There is freedom in that. Thank you!

  • Eric July 21, 2011  

    This was a great post. I always try to be an encouraging and gracious person and I sometimes get accused of being a “suck up.” I don’t intentionally do it but I’ve learned that you can get more by being nice and gracious versus being the “bull in the China shop!”

  • Tony Alicea July 26, 2011  

    Our culture has become so casual that many have lost perspective of honoring one another. There are so many empty words said for selfish reasons that we’ve become cynical of honor and encouragement.

    However if we use discernment, it’s not too difficult to see when someone is being genuine and when they are blowing smoke. 

    My heart is to create a culture of honor in my relationships so that people don’t have to wonder all the time if I’m being sincere. If you speak it naturally, as uncomfortable as it may be initially, people get used to it and it becomes part of your life culture.

    • Anonymous July 26, 2011  

      I totally agree, Tony. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Heather Conrad July 26, 2011  

    I really appreciate the heart of this post. I too am compliant by nature, driven to do the right thing ( just ask my swim team friends, they could never skip any laps with me in their lane). We are commanded to encourage one another, comes more easily to some than others. Maybe we just need permission. Thank you!