Don’t people-please! [Press Interview]

By May 16, 2022December 20th, 2023No Comments
Eva Gruber

“My boss can’t take criticism. Hence, I became a YES-sayer and due to that am looking for a job.”, a reader commented. “YES-sayers are valued more at work”, another worries. Are you people-pleasing too?

In my most recent press-interview with Der Standard and Gudrun Ostermann, we discovered the many ways our “monkey mind” can sabotage ourselves. Out of 10 different ways of mind chatter, people-pleasing is one of them. Too many of us tend to run for others and their (sometimes even unspoken) requests or needs, before they take care of themselves (let alone their many tasks).

Learn more by reading the article here (translation below).

What’s the impact of your people-pleasing on you, your mental health or others?
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Why we don’t have to please everyone at work

Habits shape our actions – but not all of them are beneficial. Mental self-saboteurs also impact leadership behavior
By Gudrun Ostermann, Der Standard

If you always want to please others first, you are at risk of
being disappointed in yourself as nothing is moving forward.

“Humans are habit-creatures: About six hours of our awake hours are shaped by habits,” says Eva Gruber, habit coach and mental fitness trainer for entrepreneurs, managers and teams. This doesn’t just include daily routines as coffee and a shower after getting up, but also mental habits: How someone reacts when they are stressed, nervous or under pressure. On top, we are not aware about 40% of our behavior. “The question is, which habits are beneficial and which are unhealthy.”

Gruber describes negative, hindering thoughts as mental self-sabotage. Neuroscience, she adds, knows ten different typologies of mental self-sabotage, which exist in varying degrees and influence behavior accordingly. Depending on which type dominates, these influences affect wellbeing, relationships or even the ability to achieve top-performance.

Getting in your own way

Gruber, for example, cites an over-rational mindset of a manager as a negative impact on the relationship level. “If only a reasonable decision is a good decision, only data and facts count. But the feeling for others and empathy is completely left aside.” As decisions work like a hammer, over-rational managers tend to quickly experience problems in interpersonal relationships. And from the employees’ perspective, it is more difficult to maintain a good relationship with an overly rational boss because they do not feel recognized.

On top, the “controller” type is often common among managers. Controller types think that they have to have everything in their hands, as that’s the only way to achieve the best results. However, this prevents others in the team from growing and learning and often also deprives them of the basis for their self-confidence. “This means that small hurdles can be overcome, but not the big ones, because at some point the others give up internally.”

Asking for support is also often weak for many managers. Because support is often seen as a shortcoming. “The others need support, but I don’t, I can do it alone,” she says as a habits coach. Getting help should not be seen as a taboo, but rather as a skill, she adds.

Wanting to please everyone

It is not uncommon to find people-pleasers, especially among female managers or employees in HR departments. “Because they want to be liked, people with this tendency try to please others first.” This is difficult because these people are constantly running for others, but the person themselves falls short and at some point the others start taking it for granted. “Anyone who has a people-pleaser in them is disappointed that nothing comes back from others and nothing progresses for themselves.”

The demands on managers are enormous after two years of the corona pandemic. “On the one hand, people are exhausted, but on the other hand, there is now a lot expected from them again.” For Gruber, focusing on mental fitness is essential. “Executives who particularly wear many hats and want to make good progress must be and remain mentally fit.”

Because achieving peak-performance doesn’t mean running even faster, peak-performance means: “I can perform well even in peak-times of anger, stress, annoyance and make the right decisions because I can maintain focus. You can do that through mental fitness and good habits.”


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