Pleasing other people—who could find fault with that? Isn’t it a good thing to consider the needs of others, to be gracious, to be nice? By all means!
But at the expense of what?
For some the desire to please is so addictive that it comes at the expense of their own health, relationships, and other priorities.
It does not stop there.
How might this show up in your leadership?
You may have a hard time making a decision because you want to make sure you have the consensus of everyone.
You take on too much work knowing full well that you don't really have the time to complete it.
You overbook yourself, without even looking at your commitments.
Does any of this sound familiar?
“As a people-pleaser, you feel controlled by your need to please others and addicted to their approval. At the same time, you feel out of control over the pressures and demands on your life that these needs have created.” The Disease to Please, Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.
Here is a little quiz that you can take to see how you fare in this area:
1. I put others’ needs before my own, even when the cost to me and my own priorities is great.
2. If someone needs my help, I can’t say no. In fact, I often find it difficult to say no. And when I do, I feel guilty.
3. To avoid reactions that I am afraid of, I often try to be who others want me to be, to agree with them, to fit in.
4. I keep my needs and problems to myself; I don’t want to burden others with them.
5. It’s my job to make sure everyone else is happy.
6. I always have a smile on my face and an upbeat attitude, even if I feel sad or angry or hurt.
7. I go out of my way to avoid conflict and confrontation; it’s better just to keep the peace.
8. I am often on the go, rushing to get things done. When I take a moment for myself, I feel selfish, indulgent and guilty.
9. I should always be nice and never hurt others’ feelings.
10. I will do whatever it takes to get someone to stop being mad at me.
11. I hold back from saying what I really think or from asking for what I want if I think someone will be upset with me for it.
12. I want everyone to like me…all the time.
13. I feel like a failure if I have displeased anyone.
14. If I don’t make others happy, I worry that I’ll be alone and unloved forever.
15. I will change my behavior, at my own expense, to make others happy.
16. I spend a lot of time doing things for others, but almost never ask anyone to do things for me.
17. If I ask people for help and they agree, I am sure they must be giving out of obligation; if they really wanted to help, they would have offered without my asking.
18. It’s difficult for me to express my feelings when they are different from someone I am close to.
How did you do?
If you answered True more often than False, it is time to make a change. These behaviors ARE affecting your leadership. Transforming these behaviors that have become habitual requires that you understand your behaviors and the mindset that it supports.
The coaching process shines a light on the motivations of our decisions. It will support you in evaluating the costs of doing the things that you have always done-and if you really think about it, it has become like second nature to you. Last but not least, the coaching conversation brings awareness to the possibility of changing your behaviors that is supported by a new mindset so that you can create sustainable change.