Are you a people pleaser?
If you think you have no people pleasing tendencies, just remember how you felt the last time someone criticized you.
Not fun is it?
Even those of us who don’t think we’re people pleasers feel the pressure to want to please people some of the time.
That said, many leaders—particularly ministry leaders—are well aware of their people pleasing tendencies.
But people pleasing can undermine your leadership in significant ways. In fact, people pleasers rarely reach their leadership potential.
It Starts Innocently Enough
Most leaders don’t set out to be people pleasers; instead we fall into it. Innocently.
Let’s say you propose an overhaul in how you do your weekend services. You want to make Sundays more open to outsiders, so the music, mood, approach and tone get slated for some dramatic changes.
Almost immediately you start to get pushback.
What about those people who have been here for a long time?
Do you really think those new people will pay the bills like we do?
Don’t you need to honour tradition?
If you make those changes, me and X other people might leave.
It’s difficult not to feel pressure in a situation like that.
Trying to Find Easy Street
Many leaders instinctively begin to look for a compromise.
Maybe we won’t go all the way with the planned changes.
Perhaps we could do two services, one for people who like it the old way and one the way we want to do it.
Maybe we introduce a mid-week or Sunday night option.
Okay, we do one service but we meet in the middle, with elements for everyone crammed into that single hour.
You get the idea.
And this pattern impacts leaders all the time in so many ways. Whether its how you approach your services, dealing with personnel issues (to fire or not fire a staff member or handling difficult volunteers).
It also impacts how you handle coworkers, bosses and even family.
5 Ways People Pleasing Undermines Your Leadership
If you’re on the impossible quest to please everyone, there are at least five ways people pleasing will hurt you: