According to Dr. Beatrice Chestnut, author of The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace (Post Hill Press, 2017), the process begins with encouraging pleasers to step outside their comfort zones and establish healthy boundaries. They’ll need to observe their emotions and responses to uncomfortable situations and learn to grow more comfortable.
The following steps will help them improve self-awareness and build confidence:
- Grasp what triggers undesirable reactions. What kind of reactions would better serve you?
- Embrace each emotion and process it. Find a way to moderate reactions.
- Make note of the benefits when you break old habits and adopt new ones.
People-pleasers need new guidelines and/or boundaries. They must learn that setting expectations and making requests of others are positive leadership behaviors. People are not as fickle as they may think. Leaders can learn to give critical, yet constructive, feedback, knowing it benefits everyone.
Pleasers should copy the following behavioral “cheat sheet” to their smartphones and tablets so it’s always within reach:
- It’s normal and healthy to say “no.”
- You’re not responsible for how others feel. You can control only how you Leaders cannot regulate their staff’s happiness. People have their own issues, so be clear about boundaries.
- Affirmation and confidence come from within, not from others.
- Act from the heart, not from a strategy. Staged behavior is obvious and detrimental.
- Make sure your own needs are addressed instead of playing the martyr.
Working for a People-Pleaser
If you work for a leader like this, then you can help. People-pleasing leaders benefit greatly from their staff’s supportive gestures and understanding. Show appreciation when pleasers share their feelings or try to be transparent. Commend them on decisiveness and setting direction. Provide safe but meaningful feedback, mixed with praise whenever possible.
We can help people-pleasing leaders through dedication, teamwork, and being reliable partners—steps we should take anyway. We can encourage delegating by suggesting action items or taking on tasks that need to get done.
As leaders leave behind their people-pleasing ways, everyone will see the improvements in organizational culture: productivity, direction, accountability, morale, team strength, and true unity.
What’s been your experience working for someone who tends to be a people-pleaser? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060, let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.