I’ve seen it far too often. I may have even done it myself. But each time it has a terrible impact on a person’s ability to lead.
Being a people pleaser.
Now before you stop reading, let me define what I mean by that term – people pleasing. This is when a leader allows those that they lead to influence their decisions, behaviors, or actions simply because the leader wants to make/keep them happy.
Just to be clearer, allow me to tell you what this is not. It is not a leader listening to someone that they lead, deciding that they are correct or that they have a really good idea that aligns with the mission of the organization, and then enacts the idea. That is what I call GOOD LEADERSHIP.
See the difference? Good.
- People Pleasing leads you away from your mission. Your organization has a mission. If there is a suggestion or idea that is clearly outside this mission, don’t do it. This doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to ideas. But it does mean that everything you choose to do should be held to the light of that mission.
- People Pleasing opens the door for more. When you make a decision to please someone just to keep them happy, you give up control. And, they’ll want more and more. People are just wired this way. And when someone finds out that they can take some leadership away from you, the chances are pretty good that they’ll want to do it again.
- People Pleasing disillusions those around you. If you’ve ever worked with a leader that has done this, you know exactly what this means. It is often no secret to those around a leader that a decision has been made just to please someone. If you doubt this theory, just re-read the first two bullet points and ask yourself if there is a way to hide either of those two occurrences. People know and they will begin to move away from your leadership.
- People Pleasing creates more work. When you please people in this way, you create for yourself and those around you not only more work, but also unnecessary and often meaningless work. Since you are off mission and because this opens the door for more, the work will steadily increase to the point that you will disable your ability to lead others in this organization.
People pleasing can come from a variety of different catalysts – from a conversation with someone, through a survey requesting feedback, or through the grapevine of gossip. Regardless of its source, the fact is that as a leader you will be faced with the very difficult decision of what to do with this information. Do you stay on mission and move the organization forward in a healthy way or do you fold and succumb to the pressure of keeping people happy? The choice is yours…
Have you ever been caught in this dilemma? How did you react? Ever worked for a leader that was a habitual people pleaser? Comment below and give me your thoughts!