People Pleaser Pitfalls: Ways to Find Balance

People Pleasers

People pleasers care about being liked.  They work hard to make others happy, no matter the cost to themselves.  They avoid conflict, express empathy, and are quite simply “nice.” But, how do people pleasers fare in business?  Can excessive people-pleasing lead to disrespect and burnout?  Consider these ways to avoid people-pleaser pitfalls and find balance.

The Psychology of People Pleasing

Excessive people pleasing stems from feelings of insecurity, according to Psychology Today. “A people-pleaser does not have high self-regard. They tend to the needs of others, thinking this will fulfill their own emotional needs.” People pleasers need to feel well liked, which can stem from the fear of not belonging.  For example, some managers feel isolated in management and have a stronger need to belong within the team than to be authoritative. These types of managers would rather avoid awkward conversations than prioritize the needs of the organization.  Psychologically, the need to please is very similar to the need to belong.

Finding People Pleaser Balance as a Manager 

Teams look to managers for a feeling of security.  They want someone who can make the best decisions for the company. When managers constantly say “yes” to every client request or accommodate unrealistic deadlines, employees know that this is not sustainable for the business as a whole.  “Know the difference between being ‘liked’ as a leader and being ‘respected,’” says Rebecca Allen of LinkedIn. “Do you want to be thought of as a likeable leader or a respected one? Likeable implies you’re nice and friendly – but is that enough? Is that effective? Respected leadership for me is that sweet spot…that balance between leading with heart and backbone.”

People pleasing managers can spend too much time trying to please their employees.  They may miss opportunities to help employees advance themselves because of wanting to shelter employees from new responsibilities and stress.  These managers are actually doing their teams a disservice by withholding difficult growth-producing feedback. “If you don’t enforce work requirements or give people the feedback they need to do better, unsuccessful employees may get away with bad behavior, and good employees might start to wonder why they bother,” says Liz Kislick of Forbes.

To make giving feedback easier, make it consistent to employees across the board in frequency and how it is delivered.  Set a plan to give three praises and three growth areas to all employees, for example.  Also, talk about the organization as an objective business entity and discuss growth areas in terms of what is best for the company.

Finding People Pleasing Balance By Looking Inward

Being a people pleaser can be an exhausting endeavor.  The desire to say yes to others can mean sacrificing your own time, energy, and boundaries.  People pleasing can lead to burnout.

It is vital to look inward and set boundaries. Realize why you have that desire to please others and remember that it is not your responsibility to make others happy. “The person who does everything for everyone takes away the personal agency of others; most of us want to do what is needed for ourselves. Everyone should learn the value of boundaries,” says Psychology Today.  

Pleasing others is a commendable trait, but it can lead to personal burnout and disrespect as a leader.  There are many ways to be likeable while being respected. Take proactive steps to set boundaries and look inward.

Founded in 2005, Artemis Consultants supports SaaS, B2B Technology, B2B Services and Data driven companies by recruiting the highly qualified candidates our clients need to keep growing, innovating, and advancing in many of the world’s most competitive industries. 

-Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Business Content Writer Mellody Melville

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