Everyone agrees that people-pleasing is not a good quality for a leader, but it has to be one of the most frequent weaknesses pastors admit to me.
Every pastor and leader I know agrees that people pleasing is not a good quality for a leader. Talking with hundreds of pastors every year, however, I’d have to say that this has to be one of the most frequent weaknesses pastors admit to me. For the pastor, when our aim is to please people, many times we are motivated more by what people want than even what God wants for the church. That’s dangerous. Hopefully I don’t have to build that case.
But what are the people casualties of people pleasing? What are the organizational casualties?
Here are 7 casualties of being a people pleaser:No one is really ever satisfied – When the leader tries to please everyone the reality is that no one on the team finds that for which they are looking. No one. In an attempt to let everyone win…no one really does.
Tension mounts among the team – People pleasing pits people against one another as the leader attempts to please everyone and team members are conditioned to jockey for positions with the leader aimed at pleasing them. It creates a political atmosphere among the people who should be working together.
Disloyalty is rampant – One would think people pleasing builds loyal supporters, but actually the reverse is more true. People don’t trust a people pleaser, because they quickly learn what the leader says isn’t necessarily the whole truth, but what will keep the leader popular. The people pleaser says what people want to hear more than what needs to be said.
Burnout is common – I’ve observed team members trying to function under a people pleaser. They feel they have the leader’s support, but then it’s pulled from under them as the leader tries to please someone else. It’s tiring.
Frustration abounds – People pleasing leads to fractured teams and fragmented visions. Frustrating.
Mediocrity reigns – Second best under a people pleasing leader becomes the new goal not a consolation. Lackluster results ultimately lower standards. In an effort to please everyone the team compromises what “could be” for what keeps people temporarily happy. (Emphasis on the temporarily.)
Visions stall – Visions are intended to take us places. Noble places we’ve never been. That involves change. And, change is hard. People don’t like change. People pleasers like people to be happy. You see where this one is going?
Be honest. Ever worked for a people pleaser? Ever been one?
What results did you see?
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.More from Ron Edmondson or visit Ron at www.ronedmondson.com/