Over the years I have seen one common problem hold many people back, I was a victim of it too – and that is the desire to please everyone and be liked by all. So often we make the mistake of thinking that to get ahead in our careers we need everyone all around us to like us. But, the truth is, if you are constantly worrying about everyone liking you, you’ll be wasting a lot of precious time on trivialities. If you are always going out of your way to make sure this person – and everyone else – likes you, you’re wasting resources and energy, and you won’t be as effective at your job.
Now before you start casting stones at me, I never said being liked by colleagues is bad. However, you have to know that you can’t please everyone all the time and you shouldn’t even try. While trying not to please everybody at the same time, you don’t need to be unnecessarily mean or bossy either, that’s often just as counter-productive as trying to be well-liked. What you do need is to let go of the idea that you have to be liked by everyone at work to succeed.
Not convinced yet?
A large percentage of the most successful people in business today like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Google’s Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Starbucks’ Howard Schultz all have said that they really don’t care to please everyone, and according to them, that has been fundamental to their success.
Truth be told, it can be tough to let go of the desire to please everyone. Eventually, people who let go of being liked by everyone ultimately have better careers than those who don’t let go. Here are six reasons why:
1. They can say no, without feeling bad.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done.” – Steve Jobs
Now that’s the mentality of highly successful people. It doesn’t bother them to say “no” to anything that’s not a priority, which means they are unlikely to fall victim to agreeing to things that don’t align with their values or goals just to keep everyone happy.
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2. They can give honest and unambiguous feedback.
People who seek to please people cannot give unbiased and honest feedback because they are always trembling at the thought of upsetting a few people with the truth. Ultimately, honest and unambiguous feedback helps the whole team improve and facilitates workplace advancement.
Also, having a deep desire to be liked can undercut the need to give clear, unambiguous feedback. Being vague to spare someone’s feelings is actually an act of vanity and selfishness.
3. They can take more risks and go for what they want.
Bill Gates says it right, “To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”
Those who have decided not to be people pleaser don’t let what others think stop them from reaching for their dreams. They usually take more risks and go for what they want. Their courage in risk taking is often rewarded with the perfect role that gives them all the flexibility, fulfillment and joy that they could ever want.
Unfortunately, most people are risk averse and don’t reach for their dreams.
4. They can focus on core goals and pay less attention to sideshows.
People who let go of being liked don’t go with popular demand. They don’t easily get caught up in what others are saying. This means they are not easily distracted from the goals they’re working toward. When others are busy engaging in petty office gossip or politics, they simply don’t pay much attention to all of that. They remain focused on what matters, which is how their work impacts the bottom line. That ensures they get ahead at work.
In the end, getting the job done right is what matters for your company’s success and your own career growth and development.
5. They can be themselves always.
Those who have broken free from the ‘people pleasing syndrome’ are free to be their true selves; they are free to express themselves, their likes, their dislikes, and their personality without fear of what others will say. They know the need for approval kills freedom and drowns your own voice. It holds you back from speaking your opinions and forces you to hide your true self in an effort to be someone others will like.
Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu says, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle for a better career, knowing yourself, focusing on your priorities and moving past pleasing others is the key to success. You shine and excel in your career when you let go of being liked and live your life in alignment with what is most important to you.5 Career Reasons Why You Should Stop Being A People Pleaser by Stellamaris Obomanu