The people pleaser pleases no one in the end. It sounds like a tongue twister from the schoolyard doesn’t it? But it’s true.

The people pleaser in a leadership role does not create any real joy at all. It is a real distinction for a leader to understand the value of respect versus like. Let’s face it, in business; the only people we should be out to please are our clients. As Peter Drucker said “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” You should be about pleasing them only.

But in reality, people like to be liked. They like people to speak favourably of them. They don’t want to upset people or get them off side. They may be fearful of confrontation and negative vibes in the office. So they try to please as many people as possible.


What are the consequences for the people pleaser?

  • Decision-making is a lengthy and difficult process
  • They become boring
  • They are not going to please everyone
  • They lose focus and lose clarity in their direction
  • They become unhappy and lose sight of their values and beliefs
  • They are controlled by others emotions
  • They lose the ability to communicate with power

Don’t get me wrong, I like to be liked too, however, I know in reality I am not going to be everytime or by everyone. In all of my leadership roles, my preference has been to be respected. Thankfully, this is something I learnt early on in my journey. I have seen the people pleaser leader struggle through and ultimately, in many cases, fail.

Choosing to be respected isn’t about not pleasing people either. However, it is about standing up to be a true leader and being decisive. It is about being confident of your values and your organizations values and living true to these. It’s about communicating with confidence because you have clarity in your direction and strategy, inspiring people along the way.

Leaders do have the choice to be a pleaser or to be a leader that demands and earns the respect of others. It’s a mindset choice and a very important distinction that will determine your success in the long term.

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