Who doesn't want to be liked by management? Whether you admit it or not, it is a natural and reasonable human instinct.
Management decides on promotion, pay rates and learning opportunities. It is reasonable to want them to like you.
However, in the cut and thrust of the retail shop floor, you also do not want to come across as a suck up to management as that could impact on relationships with colleagues.
This is a fine like to walk.
The best way to not come across as a suck up to management is to corral your colleagues to work with you on projects which are good for the business. You can do this by explaining to them the benefits for the business and those who work there if the initiatives are successful.
Work with others
People who do label a colleague a suck up usually do so because they have not come up with ideas for themselves. Share your ideas, provide them with context and encourage co-workers to join you in your projects. This can head off a dispute before it develops.
Be subtle, though, in bringing others along with you. It is important that everyone involved in improving the business feels that they have a voice which is listened to.
If you take on a leadership role, work extra hours or put into the business in some other way, be clear in your intentions. If it is to be in the running for promotion, say so. If it is in the expectation for consideration at salary review time, say so.
Management will be more inclined to see yo as a suck up if you are not open and honest about your intentions.
Speak the truth.
Despite a common belief that management wants employees to always tow the company line, good managers want team members to be honest. If you disagree with something the retail business is doing, say so. Have the courage to stand by your convictions. This will show that you are your own person and not sucking up to management at every opportunity just for the sake of it.
Avoid getting too personal.
Keep your focus on business. By this I mean avoid stepping outside what would be reasonable for your role. For example, if you made your manager coffee in the morning or offered to run personal errands when these tasks are not part of your regular duties, others could reasonable label you a suck up.
Keep the extra work and focus to business, strictly business.
Ask others to keep you in check
Let co-workers know that you want a promotion or a pay rise and that you will be doing what you can in a work context to achieve this. Ask them to call you if they notice you stepping over the line on what is reasonable. Ask them to be your cop.
Be true to yourself, act as you are prepared to act for the long term and not just in pursuit of your next goal in the business. This is good advice for you and good for the business.
While you want management to like you, you also want your co-workers to like you and you want to like yourself.