In my previous blog I talked about how to lead even if you are a people pleaser. But what if you’re on the other end of that and the person who leads you like a boss, a parent, or a coach didn’t read my blog or take my advice and thus leads in a way that’s just begging for your approval? Step one. Send them last month’s blog. Just kidding.
We have all worked for people that we quickly realize we can manipulate with our approval. We recognize that even if we don’t get the work done or take a few short cuts, their desire for our friendship affords us some extra leeway and margin for our mistakes. But we know this isn’t the best for those around us. So, short of telling your boss to MAN UP, what can you do?
1. Don’t take advantage.
Resist the urge to use this for your advantage and manipulate to get what you want. Remember you are working for the Lord according to Col. 3:23 and not for men or women. So, with every task you are given, work Jesus himself will be following up to see how you did. In the end this will help you develop healthy habits for the next boss or job that comes along.
2. Serve the mission first.
If you are in an organization, church or family in which you believe in the mission and vision it holds, work towards that. Even if you think you could get away with anything at work, or you and your boss are old college buddies and he’d never fire you because he can’t deliver bad news, you work as if he or she was not around. Serve the mission that drew you to that place in the first place. And if the mission isn’t big enough to do that, then you’re in the wrong place to begin with.
3. Develop a relationship of candor.
People pleasers desperately want everyone to like them, but they also crave helpful feedback. Often the reason they’ve become a people pleaser is due to someone hurting them or giving them such horrible feedback that instinctively they’ve decided they never want to feel that again! So they avoid it. But they need it. So, in a private moment with the one in charge affirm them, direct them, then affirm them again. For instance,
“You are such an encouragement to me.”
“Do you think once in awhile you could give me a couple ideas about how to do my job better?”
“That would mean a lot coming from you.”
“Staff meeting was very helpful today.”
“One thing I might suggest – take it or leave it- is to make sure we end on time.”
“Thanks for the work you put into it.”
Since you’ve had the courage to do this, and to say so in private, you earn your supervisor’s ear. They now know that they can receive candid comments from you and you won’t quit, cause a scene or mount a militia.
The bad news is we are all broken people. The good news is, we’re not all broken in the same place. So we can help complete each other better together than on our own.