"Kissing up and kicking down" refers to a common practice in organizations where employees are encouraged to praise the boss and others to gain favors and promotions.
A person who is kissing up will say nice things about his superiors, give them all the credit for their accomplishments, and refrain from criticizing them. Meanwhile, a person who is kicking down will undermine his subordinates or colleagues in any way they can - by making snide comments, sabotaging projects, etc.
A kiss-up, kick-down manager is someone who likes to appease their boss with high praise and boosts while constantly criticizing team members.
This type of manager is not a team player and does not value the people they work with. They rarely give constructive feedback or provide help to their team members.
Kiss-up and kick-down managers are often the banes of their employees’ existence. They are often miserable and do not lead the best working environments.
Kiss up people manipulate others to get them to like and trust them. They usually seem friendly, helpful, and supportive. Their goal is to be liked and have their opinions supported by others.
In the organizational culture of Kissing up and kicking down, the people in higher echelons try to build their own status by gaining favor with those higher up while being overly harsh and mean with those below them. This creates an environment where relationships are based on power rather than merit.
This kind of organizational culture makes it difficult for employees to develop a sense of worth. They feel like they are constantly being used and abused by their superiors, who only care about themselves and not them.
In such organizations, It is not uncommon for members of top management to single out employees and call them out on their mistakes. They will also pull rank on anyone below them in terms of hierarchy, making these employees feel like they have no choice but to take it.
This organizational culture creates a hostile work environment where people get demotivated and morale falls quickly.
A culture of kissing up and kicking down in a company can cause division among the employees and negatively impact the company's performance.
The organizational culture needs to be constantly managed by managers so that it is not allowed to negatively influence the company's performance.