We all know that “sucking up” makes sense in certain circumstances. You want to impress your boss, your clients, your spouse, so you give a little extra to win them over. Sometimes it is a good thing to suck up – doing so can mean big payoffs for you.
However, often it is less obvious that going the extra mile for your subordinates (your assistant, the copy guy, the barista who made your half-caf 108 degree double macchiato, etc.) is the right thing to do. You’re busy, tired, and, frankly, don’t they get thanks enough?
I argue that it often pays to “suck down.” And, even if it doesn’t pay, it should. Here’s why:
- Sucking down makes you happy. Scientific studies show that when you go above and beyond, and give when it is not expected, you generally feel a stronger sense of happiness. So suck down a bit, you’ll feel happier.
- Sucking down makes them happy. Praise and random acts of kindness have been shown to improve employee happiness and productivity. Little things can go a long way.
- Sucking down makes others happy. The mere witnessing of others’ generosity has been shown to improve happiness among bystanders. Sucking down can improve entire workplace morale.
- Sucking down is a good use of time. Not only can taking breaks keep you on schedule, but programming time in your day to devote to others is an excellent way to force yourself to take those much-beneficial breaks. Sucking down should be seen as an opportunity to use your time more effectively, not as a waste of time.
- Sucking down doesn’t have to cost you anything. Buying gifts is only one possible way to suck down. Giving your time and energy is probably going to have a bigger impact that giving gifts. Some totally free down-sucking options: a hand-written card, helping your assistant move apartments, putting in a good word to colleagues about the receptionist. The possibilities are endless.
You should make a point to “suck down” at least once every day. Put it on your calendar – 2pm every day is “down-suck time.” Try it for a week and I’ll bet you start to see big payoffs.