Periodicals-Publishing and Printing in Vancouver
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People Pleaser to Leader

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

As seen in APeeling in Summer 2020

There are those leaders that rule by fear and an iron fist. Where punishment for ‘not doing as I say’ is the norm. These leaders are only a leader in name/title alone. Their followers are not really following out of respect or motivation, they do so only because of fear of some repercussion, such as losing their job. But there is no real team unity, cohesion and support of the overall vision and mission. And often, this creates a high attrition rate.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, are those leaders that may be very likeable people, and want to grow and nurture their team, but lack the skills to do so. They often are people pleasers who are afraid to take a real stand as they fear not being liked or alienating team members.

Both are ineffective leaders

Most leaders are made and not born. Learning the skills to be an effective and powerful leader requires personal development as well cultivating strong communication skills to enable a leader to have “difficult” conversations, easily and inspire team members to follow.

One of my clients, Alice, struggled in her leadership and was a real people pleaser. Alice acted like a peer for so long, that her team of 12 treated her like a peer instead of the business owner and CEO that she was.

She was afraid her team would not support, aka like her, if she made hard calls and did not acquiesce to their wishes. She felt frustrated and defensive in team meetings when her authority was challenged. Alice had not garnered their respect as a leader.

When CoVid hit, she attempted to motivate her team to pivot and find alternate ways to serve the businesses’ clients, but her team essentially took a vacation. She then realized she alone is responsible for ensuring her business survives and thrives. Alice finally became the Captain of the ship.

The coaching we had been doing to help her understand what it meant to BE a leader shifted from intellectual understanding to experiential understanding and she finally started leading.

As a leader, you alone see all the moving parts and how they fit into the business vision. While it is important to create trust and inspire your team to be in service of the mission, ultimately, you are responsible if the ship sinks.

Your team does not have the same 30k foot view you do when making tough decisions in service of the business AND the team.

Alice created trust by communicating the business vision and listening to her team’s concerns. As a result of radically transforming her communication skills, she got her teams’ buy-in through individual and collective meetings and required them to carry out plans that generate results.

She ultimately stopped being concerned if they were going to like her (and they love her!) and started concentrating on them respecting her instead.

She focused on what the business’s needs were and what each team member’s role was in meeting those needs.

When CoVid hit, Alice thought she was going to lose her business. Her business is now humming along with clear direction and everyone is on purpose. As a result, she is earning more, working significantly less, providing less services directly to clients and standing in her role as the CEO instead.

When you stop caring about people pleasing, lead with compassion, develop yourself and more effective communication skills and align with the business’s mission and purpose, you are a far more effective leader and you’ll have the results in your business to prove it.


Alaina Schwartz, JD helps leaders succeed and achieve the results they want.

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