A recent study done by YouGov among 1000 adult US citizens found that, 49% of adults self-identify as a “People Pleaser” –56% for women and 42% for men.

Being a people pleaser at work may seem like a positive trait on the surface, but it can hinder your career growth and well-being. Consistently seeking approval and validation from others can lead to burnout, lack of assertiveness, and an inability to influence others and say no to unreasonable demands.

Let’s explore how to break the “People Pleasing” cycle at work and regain control of your career.

Recognize If It’s A Problem For You

The first step is to determine if “People Pleasing” is an issue for you and if it is, “Own It”.  It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing, and a thing that’s likely holding you back from further thriving in your career.

If you’re not sure whether you’re a “People-Pleaser” ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I focus on how people react to me and adjust my behaviors based on their reactions?
  • Am I sensitive to criticism or disapproval so much that it changes my behaviors?
  • Am I worried about my superiors’ acceptance of my ideas so much that it limits my creativity or stops me from putting forth my ideas?
  • Do I set goals, prioritize work, make recommendations so as to please others?
  • Do I avoid anything controversial or unpopular because I see conflict and controversy as a problem?
  • Do I set low performance standards for direct reports to avoid having difficult performance conversations?
  • Do I build support for myself by doing favors for others or looking the other way when things go wrong?
  • Do I give up on things to please or impress someone else?
  • Do I tolerate unacceptable behavior from others?

If you said yes, to more than half of these, you may be a “People-Pleaser”.   So again, “Own It” without any judgment about it!

And here’s the reality, it is absolutely essential to understand that IT IS OKAY to:

  • Say no to tasks that don’t align with your job responsibilities and work-life balance
  • Share your “true” point of view – most companies expect this – that’s what they’re paying you for Identify your triggers
  • Engage in difficult conversations and yes, you can learn how

Identify Your Triggers

To stop being a people pleaser, you need to identify your triggers. What situations or people make you feel like you need to please them? Once you understand your triggers, you can create a plan to handle these situations without compromising your needs or values.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a critical aspect of stopping people-pleasing behavior. Boundaries help you communicate your needs, limits, and expectations to others. It’s essential to be clear and concise when setting boundaries, and to stick to them. For example, you may need to set boundaries around your work hours, the type of work you’re willing to take on, or how you’ll communicate with colleagues.

Practice Saying No

Saying no can be challenging, especially if you’re used to saying yes to everything. However, learning to say no is essential to breaking the cycle of people pleasing. Start by saying no to small requests or tasks that don’t align with your priorities or values. As you become more comfortable, you can begin to say no to more significant requests or projects.

Prioritize Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is crucial to breaking the pattern of people-pleasing. Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you recharge. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones, prioritize self-care in your daily routine.

Seek Support

Breaking the cycle of people pleasing can be challenging, and it’s essential to seek support from others. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or coach about your struggles. They can offer guidance and support as you work to prioritize your needs and set boundaries at work.

Breaking the pattern of people-pleasing at work takes time and effort, but it’s worth it for your personal and professional growth. By identifying and recognizing it’s a problem, identifying triggers, setting boundaries, practicing saying no, prioritizing self-care, and seeking support, you can regain control of your career and achieve your goals.

Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your needs and say no to unreasonable demands.

If you’re struggling to overcome this and would like some support, please  shoot me an email and we’ll get a conversion started!