People-Pleasers 101: How They Affect Your Business and What You Can Do About It

One of the very first lessons that we’re taught in life is to be generous to others. Most of us learn that sharing is caring from a very early age. We’re told that it’s the nice thing to do in almost every situation and that we embody goodness when we choose to meet the needs of others before our own.

Given how heavily this particular teaching is emphasized, it is of little wonder why most of us tend to continue to refer and defer to it throughout our lives. Along the way, we learn that being a giving person doesn’t just make us good, kind people. Generosity can also be used as a tool for cultivating smoother relations with others.

When we are willing to give more of ourselves or be the bigger person, we can influence other people to behave in this manner. It can also help us avoid disrupting the status quo. Finally, and most importantly, practising generosity is one of the easiest ways to keep everybody happy. For these reasons, it can be difficult to imagine how putting others before ourselves can ever be taken as a bad thing.

When viewed from an objective distance, there’s nothing inherently wrong with belonging to that oft-maligned group of people known as people pleasers. However, the age-old adage about everything in moderation still stands, as being a people pleaser may just be holding you back from joining an elite crowd of successful entrepreneurs. Here’s what you need to look out for and how to course-correct, if necessary:

What Is a People-Pleaser?

The term “people-pleaser” is a broad one that can be difficult to define. In business, though, it can carry a derogatory connotation, referring to someone who can’t seem to say no to others, even to their detriment.

People-pleasers are often afraid of disappointing others and will do everything they can to prevent that from happening, even if it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient for them. They’re deathly afraid of conflict, and are only all too willing to apologize, even for things that aren’t their fault. Worst of all, people-pleasers struggle to tell the difference between being kind and being a pushover, and as a result, often allow themselves to be taken advantage of.

How Can Being a People-Pleaser Negatively Affect Your Business?

Providing exceptional service and pleasing people is an absolute must in many industries. However, there are instances where it can prove to be a hindrance instead.

Leaders who are prone to people-pleasing can be a liability to the teams they manage, as well as the organizations they belong to, for example. They could spend too much time trying to be friends with everyone, to the point that they may deviate from their goals, if not neglect them entirely. People-pleasers can also hold up projects by taking on work they don’t need to be doing instead of delegating tasks properly.

Adopting a people-pleasing attitude when it comes to dealing with suppliers can also be dangerous. Entrepreneurs who don’t know how to say no may find themselves talked into making unnecessary purchases, directly impacting the company’s bottom line.

Businesses should also be careful about excessive people-pleasing when handling customers. It can be all too easy to fall into a trap of one’s own making when it leads to the setting of unrealistic expectations. Clients who think they can bully you also won’t hesitate to, which can lead to even more problematic situations later on.

How Do You Stop Being a People-Pleaser?

Coming to terms with the fact that you may be a people-pleaser can be difficult at first, but it is necessary if you hope to change. Here are a few ways on how you can prevent the need to please from affecting your business:

Have Confidence in Yourself and What You Offer

A lot of business owners tend to default to people-pleasing because they don’t believe in themselves or their product or service. This lack of confidence is usually what makes them bend over backward just to retain their customers or maintain relationships with resellers.

Being confident in the quality of your offering is crucial. If you believe that it is worth what you think it’s worth, you’ll be better able to stand your ground against anyone who claims otherwise.

Learn How to Maintain Your Boundaries

In business, it’s always a good idea to be open to feedback. Constantly worrying about what others think, though, is a path that will only lead to ruin. Unfortunately, people-pleasers are usually prone to overthinking these things, which can lead to poor decision-making.

The first step to combating that is to accept that you can only be responsible for your actions. As such, it’s best to focus on being kind rather than thinking about how you’re perceived by others.

Determine Who You Want to Keep Working With

People-pleasers usually struggle when it comes to standing up for themselves. They would rather think that something is their fault instead of confronting someone who may be crossing a line.

The most important thing to remember, even in business, is that you deserve as much respect as you give. People who don’t feel the same way aren’t worth your time.

Having healthy relationships with people is crucial to managing your business successfully. Keep in mind, though, that this doesn’t mean letting others walk all over you. Know how to establish boundaries and stand up for yourself. It shows that you know your worth and that you believe in your business.

Are you dealing with a people pleaser or are you a people pleaser yourself? Get in touch with Mary Jo to help you how to deal with people pleasers today.


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People-Pleasers 101: How They Affect Your Business and What You Can Do About It