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How to stop being a people pleaser as a leader

in Executive Coaching, High-performance, Mindset, Motivation, Self-development

In this article, I’m going to share with you how to stop being a people pleaser and overcome the obstacles created because of this tendency of yours, so that your leαdership is really effective and beneficial for both your team and you in your role as a leader. If you want to find out, keep reading.

One of my coaching clients was Veronica. Veronica is a high-performing executive and a member of a sales team. Although a lone-wolf going after the goals assigned to her, she was always willing to help her peers in any way she could achieve their own goals. Therefore, they were many times she offered herself to do tasks for them in order to make their life easier at work. “Seeing I”m useful to other people makes me happy and gives me energy”, she told me. It’s like a fuel for me and this is why I keep doing it. The problem is that there are times I gather huge workload, because of that. And because I don’t want to disappoint others I push myself to working even longer hours to accomplish everything. Furthermore, it’s extremely difficult for me to say no to others.”

Some months ago, Veronica got a promotion becoming the leader of a team, some of her ex-peers would be a part of. Her worry was that she would have to set some boundaries regarding up to which point she could “serve” as she called the “pleasing” her team members. On the other hand, she didn’t want them to think that now that she got a promotion she changed as a person… So, the following are the points we worked on to go from people pleasing to serving in the right way, her team members, so that they work effectively and they have a good relationship with their leader without expecting to have all their wishes fulfilled.

  • When you see they don’t make progress, talk to them. I know it feels better to skip having this conversation and try to cover the progress gap by doing the work by yourself, but in this way you keep them in the dark about their own performance. If you really want to help them, be open and share your worries with specific examples. Ask them if they’re facing any challenges and if they do, work with them on how to overcome them, by keep them accountable to do so. Resist the temptation to say you’ll do it for them. Your role is to help them believe more in themselves and face what keeps them away from their progress, not to hide the truth and support them stay stuck.
  • When you have to deal with a problematic employee behavior, don’t avoid it, handle it. If you don’t give people the feedback they need to improve their behavior, to take ownership of their tasks, they may get away with bad behavior, and good employees might start to wonder why they bother putting effort. If you want to serve your team properly, being fair is of highest priority.
  • Finally, when you have to communicate tough content or say no to an employee. You can share the news or say no without having to be mean. When you make a point kindly, most people will understand. You can explain using specific examples and information, why something is not possible to be done or why you are not able to say yes to something requested from you. If possible, suggest an alternative.

What you do have to understand is that you don’t have to stop satisfying your need of helping others. The only thing you need to do is to do it effectively by remaining kind and treating each person as the individual they are, but at the same time giving them the clear direction, resources and support they need to take responsibility for their own success by working on their own tasks and goals and feel good in this way about what they achieve .

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Valentina Kordi

Valentina Kordi is an international Motivational Speaker, Author and a Mindset & High-Performance Coach for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Teams committed to help Entrepreneurs, Executives and Management Teams to unleash their best professional self through developing a high-performance mindset, so that they reach their top professional and business goals.