by Guest Blogger – Jodie Nevid

When we are raised with well-meaning parents who give us advice like; “If you haven’t got anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” and “good things come to those who wait” it is no wonder many of us are plagued by the need for approval or the ‘disease to please.’

Approval is one of the passive defensive (green) styles within the Human Synergistics Circumplex, and can be challenging for some to let go of, because people think it is about being ‘nice’… isn’t it?  I am often asked the question; what’s wrong with being nice? Isn’t it nicer to be nice? Isn’t that what people want from me? And there lies the problem… “Isn’t that what people want from me?”

The problem with being ruled by approval is you can become so preoccupied by what others want from you that you fail to tune into what you really want for yourself. People who score high in approval often have great intentions but their fear of letting people down or not being liked can be all consuming and it can lead to anxiety and stress or at worse approval driven people can become a martyr.

If you suffer from the disease to please and feed on approval then try some of these strategies:

  1. Voice your opinion more often, even if everyone may not agree
  2. Think about what YOU want in life and set some personal goals for YOU
  3. Write a list of all your strengths and focus on them more often to build your confidence
  4. Listen to your inner dialogue to discover what drives your need for approval
  5. Be conscious of the words you use and choose assertive rather than permissive words
  6. Use your body language and vocal tone to get into an assertive and confident state
  7. Let go of guilt, as guilt generates nothing but worry and anxiety
  8. If you have a full workload and can’t take on more, realise that it is ok to explain your circumstances and say no constructively. More often than not people will understand, and guess what they might even offer to help you out!

If you are in a leadership role, or even if you are a parent you must let go of the need to please and the fear of disappointing others. People will always be more inspired by, and more likely to follow a leader who is clear on their own purpose, vision and goals rather than one who is worried about what everyone else wants!