skip to main content


Do you or any of your management team fall victim to approval-motivated leadership?

People Pleasing

Approval-motivated leadership is a form of people pleasing where we allow our decisions and actions to be motivated by pleasing a crowd (maybe your team or a board of supervisors) instead of by our personal goals and ethics.

This people-pleaser may be in a position to lead a team, but the team ultimately leads him or her.

Good or Bad

In thinking about people pleasing, there is a fine line to be drawn between it being a positive trait and it being a bad characteristic.

Quality leaders care about their people and what they think. Nobody wants to be considered selfish or unkind. And in discussions, it is natural to let a person know you agree with them when you actually agree with them.

People-pleasers, unfortunately, have taken these traits to an extreme. They tend to agree with everyone and feel responsible for how others feel. People-pleasers often apologize and feel burdened by their commitments because they cannot say “no.” They tend to mimic those around them and need external praise to feel good about themselves.

People-pleasers in Your Workplace

As a business leader and manager, you need to be cognizant of the people-pleasers on your staff. You also need to be aware of your own people pleasing tendencies.

Allowing people-pleasing tendencies to drive leadership decisions is destructive to the people-pleaser, their team, and your business.

First, a team member or manager who allows the crowd mentality to dictate their decisions is not benefiting the team or the business. You have a diverse staff of individuals, and you need all their independent input to arrive at good business decisions. Courteous disagreements among team members should be encouraged.

Second, as a manager, you need your staff to grow and mature. By acquiescing to others and attempting to keep everyone else but themselves happy, the people-pleaser will never be able to reach their greatest potential. Being all things to all people is being nothing to everyone.

Finally, having a staff member or manager who agrees to every request is eventually going to have no time for their work. They are paid to complete their own work assignments as necessitated by your business.

Break Free

You need to counsel your people-pleasing staff member to break free from their dilemma. Step one is to let them know you expect them to learn to use the word “no” frequently. Second, they need to be expected to voice their own opinion at your meetings. And finally, they need to discover what makes them happy aside for keeping other people happy.

The Bible

The safety of a people pleasing person is found in the love of God. His love does not ebb and flow but is a constant stream on which we can count. All we need to worry about is pleasing God, and that is much simple than attempting to please our coworkers.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The Bible is full of advice specifically for people-pleasers to help them find a new fulfillment in their work aside from being a people-pleaser. We need our employees to grow to their greatest potential. And for people-pleasers, that potential is helped through the Word of God.