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People Pleasing Vs Genuine Communicators
How Do We Measure Communication Skills?
"The world would be a better place if people could tell the difference between a people pleaser and a genuine communicator." -Donovan D. Westhaver
"I have good communication skills," how many times have we heard someone say that? Far too many times to count. What exactly does this statement mean? And are those who often assert themselves as a person with good communication skills truly a good communicator? What makes a good communicator? Has society lost its scope on whom and what it takes to be a good communicator?
These are all good questions, without easy answers. By merely taking the time to read this hub and ponder these very questions may make you a better communicator than most, because you have a certain level of awareness that a lot of people, who claim to have good communication skills, tend to lack.
It's my belief that some time during the past twenty years, the culture in which I grew up in lost track as to whom or what makes good communication skills. What we perceive as proper communication has become distorted at best, and dishonest at worse. Much of it has to do with the fact that we as humans are too easily swayed toward the path of pleasure. We fool ourselves into thinking that those who bring us the most pleasure happen to be the best communicators. This couldn't be further from the truth. The sad result of giving into such impulses is the art of communication has become lost, and through that much incompetence has thus ensued
People Pleasing Vs Genuine Communicator
Who is a people pleaser?
A people pleaser is a person who wants to be liked. They see their success based upon how those around them behave in their presence. They believe conflict is a sign of failure and that it's admirable to avoid conflict at any costs. They selfly judge their communication ability based upon the happiness demeanor of the person whom they're interacting with.
Who is a genuine communicator?
A genuine communicator is a person who values honesty and wants to be respected. They see their success based upon results rather than opinion. They understand that often conflict can be a part of the communication process. They selfly judge their communication ability based upon whether goals and results were attained from the communication exchange
People Love A People Pleaser
The expression, "you get more out of honey rather than vinegar" comes to mind. This quote is identifying how people can relate to a people pleaser. People pleasers get jobs easily. Employers often like people pleasers because they're never argumentative, they're conformist and work to appease others, and come across as friendly in interviews. People pleasers are without a doubt the most promoted bunch in the 21st century workplace. They attest their success to excellent communication skills. However, based on many of the problems I see today, I believe it is time to seriously question the motives behind such people and whether or not they're indeed as good at communication as we're led to believe.
People pleasers have some very serious flaws that I wouldn't consider admirable communication:
- They have a dependant mind. All their decisions are formulated based on just keeping others around them happy. They can't make decisions.
- They lack creativity and scope. Their focus is mostly in keeping the people around them happy. They cannot see much beyond that objective.
- They're dishonest. They say, act, and behave in whatever conceivable fashion to make others happy.
- They cannot solve problems. Problem solving isn't their goal. Instead their goals rest with the approval from others. Problem solving is often "nitty gritty" work that doesn't exactly bring a smile across people's faces, so people pleasers avoid this activity completely.
- Their solutions to everything are often "band-aid" in nature. "Just do whatever to keep people happy, and consequences matter not."
The genuine communicator, on the other hand, has an independent mind. This allows them to make decisions. I consider having the ability to make decisions vital to proper communication. Because they're independent, their mind allows them to be creative. Creativity is important because creativity allows you to have several approaches, ideas, solutions, etc. when communicating. Unlike the people pleaser, they're honest, if there is bad news to tell, they'll mention it. They love to solve problems and view communication as a tool that allows them to do so. They want solutions that are tangible, practical and long-term.
The crisis of our time is that people love a people pleaser. They're intoxicating to a great many people. People pleasers often come across as more professional and communicative than others, so they advance quickly in corporate organizations. This can lead to some horrible management decisions across many industries.
Take the "mental health" industry for example. In this industry, leadership seems to view happiness of the client as the ultimate success. The negativity of the client must be eliminated and replaced with more "proper and positive feelings." To do so they make use of "medication" with harmful side effects to a person's cognitive abilities. The person may be dumber, and their problems that made them unhappy remain unsolved, but if the medication puts a smile on the client's face we have a success.
Another good example is in customer service. Customers say they want their issues solved, but from experience I can tell you that most customers could care less if their problems were solved. Most customers want an enjoyable experience, so much so that they value their own pleasure above and beyond the reasons they contacted customer service in the first place. What customers’ want is a people pleaser. An example of such a scenario was when I was younger and worked at a call centre. Often customers called and complained over various problems that I tried relentlessly to solve. Unfortunately, many customers were irate with me, as it turns out sorting through some paper work to have market stock transferred isn't the most enjoyable experience. So often they demanded to be transferred to someone who is more likable. Enter the bubbly young female next to me. She smiles, says nice stuff, and is a real smooth talker, but she doesn't solve any of the customers’ problems. The customers could care less because she makes them happy.
A final example is in charitable work and nonprofit organizations. I believe that charity often fails because people are in it for the wrong reasons. The people in such organizations are often people pleasers. How often have you heard people in such fields claim they joined because "they love people?" My question is, do you actually love the people enough to work long and hard to truly solve their problems? If you're in such organizations to merely mingle with people, smile, and look good on a resume, as I suspect that is the case for many people, then it's little wonder charitable organizations often fail to live up to their mission statements.
Are People Pleasers Uniquely Women?
You may get the impression that the person pleasing epidemic is strictly a feminine issue. I can imagine some guys nodding their heads while reading this hub, thinking of how my examples remind them of many women they know at work. I can even see women identifying some of their female friends demonstrating the same traits. The fact of the matter is men are guilty of people pleasing as well.
The expression, "nice guys finish last," comes to mind. The "nice guys" are guilty of obsessive people pleasing. They put their mate up on a pedestal, think day and night how to please her at the neglect of themselves, and then wonder why she ran off with another guy who "isn't as nice." Ok, maybe sucking serious ass and treating someone like a god to get affection works in the business world, but it doesn't work in the real world. . .
The Results of Rewarding People Pleasing
Unfortunately, society has vastly and unjustly rewarded people pleasers, much to the expense of us all. The people pleasers who lead the mental health industry are doing little to alleviate mental health concerns. Instead they're exasperating the problem.
For all I know, that bubbly girl next to me at the call centre could very well be the CEO of the company by now. No doubt, she received glaring reviews for keeping customers happy and having short call waiting times. Who cares about actually solving their problems? Her glaring reviews would certainly allow her to move up where she'll pass on the same "values" to her underlings.
The charitable and nonprofit organizations will continue to employ people pleasers who care more about public relations than actually helping the poor distressed souls.
The result you can see here is we have one hell of a mess. We have incompetent leadership all around, and a society that believes in using quick fixes to make people happy, rather than genuinely solving problems. The solution out of this mess is to recognize and reward genuine communication.
People Pleasers Are Selfish
Such a statement may come as a surprise to many people. People often identify the people pleaser as a person that is obsessively altruistic. My argument goes back to the people pleasing individuals who join charitable organizations. You must ask yourselves, if such people didn't receive all the recognition involved with being labelled altruistic saint, would they still do it? I think we know the answer to that question, because being truly charitable can be performed a number of ways, most of which hardly involve joining an organization. People pleasers are emotionally selfish. They seek to feed off the constant approval and admiration of others.
However, if you're joining a charitable organization because you truly believe through group cooperation and group efforts that you can solve many problems, all the power to you. For that is what being a genuine communicator is all about.
People tend to underestimate how the emotional selfishness of people pleasers that can inadvertently lead to huge monetary gains, and thus monetary selfishness as well. The leaders in the mental health industries are making several hundred of the thousands a year. Another good example, believe it or not, comes from teachers. I often find teachers guilty of the same sin. Teachers seem to think because they're educating people, they're saints to be worshipped. Never once are the results considered, instead we must admire the altruistic starving teacher who earns on average as much as a chartered accountant when we factor in hours put. Oh and did I mention, our altruistic saint can work her way up to a school administrator earning well over 100K a year while still having the same several months vacation.
Can You Have Your Cake And Eat It Too?
Is it possible to be both a people pleaser and genuine communicator? In some cases, yes, in most cases, no. Usually in trivial communication exchanges (e.g. how are you today?), a little bit of people pleasing can be used to quickly sort through the conversation, followed by genuine communication to get to the bottom of the situation. People pleasers and people who wish to be genuine have opposing values, so it's improbable to carry out both fluently in communication. My hope is that some day people pleasing will finally be recognized as redundant, dishonest, and in the long run a destructive practice. However, as long as we live in a world where people have increasing sensitivities, I’m afraid a little bit of person pleasing will be necessary.
Enter the Genuine Communicator
It's time to start rewarding people for genuine communication that produces tangible results. We as human beings need to understand that person pleasing doesn't solve any problems, it isn't particularly kind, it's selfish, and contrary to popular belief, person pleasing isn't the most confident way to approach life. Just how hollow the confidence level of a people pleaser is can become readily apparent when just a few people refuse to play along in their little game within their presence.
We need to realize that a good communicator is a person that helps bring truth and understanding to a matter. This isn't always pleasant, but given time, can be extremely rewarding.
-Donovan D. Westhaver
To Be Liked
To Be Respected
To Be Avoided
Firm & Diplomatic
If you’re in a difficult situation with a individual or organization, what in your mind takes priority?
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