As a leadership coach and advocate for authentic leadership, I’m here to shed light on an all-too-common trait, being a people-pleaser in leadership. Many aspiring leaders will benefit from being aware of this trait as it not only hinders your impact but it also hinders your growth. In this post, I’ll delve into the reasons why being a people-pleaser hinders your impact and how you can break-free from this paradoxical trap.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you know if your leadership style includes people-pleasing? The below list highlights some of the ways people-pleasing may manifest in your leadership style and explains the detrimental impact it will have unless you address it.
People-pleasers often seek external validation, craving approval from everyone around them. However, leadership is not a popularity contest. Relying on others’ opinions for self-worth and decision-making compromises your authenticity and may lead to inconsistent leadership, eroding trust within your team.
Leadership requires a tremendous amount of energy and focus to steer a team towards success. Unfortunately, people-pleasers exhaust themselves by overextending to meet the needs and expectations of others. This leaves them depleted and unable to make sound decisions or provide the guidance their team requires.
In the pursuit of pleasing everyone, people-pleasers in leadership often face decision-making paralysis. The fear of disappointing others or making unpopular choices can lead to procrastination, delaying vital decisions that impact the team’s progress and productivity.
Authentic leadership is grounded in unwavering values and principles. However, people-pleasers in leadership may find themselves compromising their core beliefs to avoid conflict or displeasing others. This compromises the integrity of their leadership and weakens their team’s trust.
Clear communication is vital for effective leadership. Unfortunately, people-pleasers may struggle to communicate openly and assertively. The fear of confrontation and the need to be liked may lead to vague instructions and ambiguous feedback, hindering the team’s performance.
Leadership is about empowering others to thrive. People-pleasers, however, may unknowingly discourage team members from taking initiative and making decisions on their own. The constant need for approval can create an environment where team members become dependent on the leader for every decision.
By focusing on pleasing others, people-pleasers often neglect their personal and professional growth. Investing time in their development and self-improvement is crucial for effective leadership and setting an inspiring example for the team.
Recognise and acknowledge your people-pleasing tendencies. Reflect on the root causes and how they affect your leadership.
Establish clear boundaries to protect your time, energy and well-being. Communicate these boundaries to your team, allowing them to respect your needs while fostering a more balanced work environment.
Shift your focus from seeking approval to leading with authenticity. Embrace your values, strengths, and vision, and communicate them confidently to your team.
Learn to say “no” gracefully and assertively when necessary. Saying “no” does not make you less caring; it shows that you value your time and prioritise what truly matters.
Encourage open and honest feedback from your team, peers and mentors. Their perspectives can help you identify areas where people-pleasing tendencies might be impacting your leadership.
Shedding the people-pleasing cloak is an essential step towards becoming an impactful and authentic leader. Embrace your true self, set clear boundaries and prioritise your well-being. Remember, genuine leadership stems from within and only by embracing our authenticity can we truly inspire and empower those around us. Let’s embark on this journey together and lead with confidence, integrity and purpose.
Puja McClymont – certified coach, wisdom teacher, speaker and host of the SELF Care 101 podcast.
As a life and leadership coach, I help mission-driven individuals who are seeking direction, to gain clarity, by expanding their inner awareness through the ancient wisdom teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga; so that they can lead more purposeful and fulfilling lives.
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