Business NLP Blog

Organizational Flattery

What is organizational flattery?

Organizational flattery is the usage of flattery in an organizational or business setting. Flattery is the use of compliments or praises in order to achieve a certain aim or to gratify the feelings of another individual. Flattery is often characterized as excessive and usually insincere praise, especially when the individual who is using flattery has a certain goal or aim in their mind. For example: An individual who highly praises their good friend’s artwork may be called a ‘flatterer’ for excessive praise influenced by the individuals’ relationship to the artist. Another example of flattery could occur when someone flatters an individual who has connections that could benefit the flatterer. In both cases, the compliments and praise being given by an individual are considered to be somewhat, if not entirely, insincere. Organizational flattery, when used in a business setting, can be one way for individuals to achieve business related goals for themselves or for their employer. Organizational flattery does not necessarily differ from ordinary flattery—it is, however, more specialized due to the more specific goals and aims which are often behind its usage.
Organizational Flattery | Sales Training

What are the three types of organizational flattery?
The three types of organizational flattery are employee-to-customer organizational flattery, employee-to-employee organizational flattery, and employee-to-employer organizational flattery. Each type of organizational flattery is used in different business or company settings by employees who have certain business related goals or aims in mind.

Employee-to-customer organizational flattery occurs when an employee flatters a customer in order to influence that customer to purchase goods or services from a business or company. Employee-to-customer organizational flattery can occur in almost any business setting where employees interact with customers in such a way that allows them to influence a customer’s decision. Clothing stores, furniture stores, and even restaurants are all businesses where employee-to-customer organizational flattery occurs on a regular basis. The type of flattery used in these instances will often vary depending on the employee, customer, and the nature of the business.

The most common type of employee-to-customer flattery is direct flattery which relates to goods or services being offered by a business. Employees in retail stores, as clothing shops, often have frequent interaction with customers who are on the “sales floor.” Many retail stores will instruct their employees to upsell items to customers through flattery and other sales tactics. For example: An employee at a retail clothing shop may remark that a certain color or item would look incredible when worn by that customer. This type of organizational flattery is often considered the least subtle and has the potential to be the least effective, due to the fact that most customers will know that employees want to sell their items to customers, thus making their flattery biased and influenced.
Organizational Flattery | Sales Training

Some forms of customer-to-employee organizational flattery are considerably more subtle than direct flattery related to goods and services offered by a business. These forms of flattery are usually not related to goods or services which are related to the business, but are still undertaken in an attempt to influence how a customer spends at a certain business—whether it is intended to cause a customer to buy a specific item or simply spend more at a business in general. For example, a server working in a restaurant may ‘spontaneously’ compliment an item of clothing worn by a customer at one of their tables. Although this flattery is not related to the food offered by the restaurant, the customer is more likely to spend more money—or, in this example, offer a large tip—due to the perceived compliment given by the server. Psychologically, customers are more likely to spend money when they feel good. Compliments and flattery, when they are perceived as genuine and not simply given in an attempt to get a customer to buy an item, will make a customer more psychologically apt to spending more money at an establishment.

Another type of organizational flattery is employee-to-employee organizational flattery. Employee-to-employee organizational flattery occurs when an employee employs flattery on one or more of their contemporary employee peers. The aims of employee-to-employee organizational flattery can vary, but they are often related to persuading other employees to join projects, assist with something, or use their connections to help the flatterer further a certain objective. Employee-to-employee organizational flattery usually involves flattery which is related to work performed by the employee in the construct of a business setting and, like the aforementioned subtler employee-to-customer flattery, flattery which is unrelated to work or business. For example: An employee who wants another employee to agree to switch work schedules with them may first employ flattery in order to win over the second employee and make them more likely to agree to help out the flatterer.
Organizational Flattery | Sales Training

The third type of organizational flattery is employee-to-employer flattery. Employee-to-employer organizational flattery occurs when an employee uses flattery on someone who is higher in the ranks of employment within their business, such as a manager, supervisor, owner, or other higher-ranked employee. Typically, the aims of employee-to-employer organizational flattery are related to the advancement of the employee who is using flattery on the higher-ranked employee. Although employee-to-employer flattery is common, it is considered one of the more complicated interactions in a social business setting due to the possibility of flattery to negatively impact an employee’s standing in a business. A higher ranked employee is more likely to rate an employee lower when they engage in flattery that is perceived as insincere and as an attempt to boost their standing within the company. If an employee is able to make their flattery sound sincere, however, then the higher-ranked employee is more likely to consider the job performance of the flattering employee higher.
The success of organizational flattery, in any of its context, is generally influenced by the skill of the employee who is engaging in flattery. An employee with excellent social skills and business sense is more likely to be able to use flattery to their advantage than an employee without experience in successfully and properly using the concept.

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