While flagrant flattery (aka butt kissing) is not recommended for career advancement, having a mentor certainly is.
Brian over at TheJobBored wrote an excellent article on LBJ and his career advancement. Some of his advice ties in well with my post on How to Say No to the Boss. A point made in the comments was that asking questions is not just a good technique to get your boss to rethink his strategy, but is also a great learning tool for your own career advancement. Whatever your job and whoever your boss, learning as much as you can about your industry and your job’s boss will only help you in your own career. Remember, knowledge is never wasted.
If you are still in the beginning stages of your career, remember to look to the Administrative and Executive Assistants at your job site as potential mentors. They have a wealth of information to share if you just approach them.