To the annoyance of those around the panderer, i.e., those who aren't the ones being flattered, it appears that kissing up works:
"One of the most intractable problems of corporate culture, kissing up can tilt the playing field, torch a meritocracy and ego-stroke management senseless. Some of the bamboozled are hardly aware they're being rolled, while the bamboozlers climb the corporate ladder and saw off the rungs behind them.
While I cringe when I see "backslapping bootlicks" (love that phrase - got it from the article) in action, I also fault the flatterees for being so oblivious as to allow themselves to be played. Insecure individuals are the easiest targets, but Stanley Hertz believes that most people are less immune to these maneuvers than they think. Mr. Hertz owns his executive-recruiting agency, and he says "...even the biggest CEOs need to be loved. 'It's like fungus,' he explains. 'It grows on you.' "
If it grew on me, I'd cut if off.