Years ago, I received this email after a post about people-pleasing at my leadership site:
Have just finished your blog post “7 Casualties of a People Pleaser in Leadership.” I recognize I am a people-pleasing Pastor. How do I turn the tide on this? How do I stop? I am seeing tension mounting on the team. There is frustration on our staff and it is even spilling over to our spouses, and my vision has hit a brick wall. I really want to move away from this, but I am finding it most difficult.
One frustrated pastor
Here is my reply:
I’m impressed with your boldness and honesty. Here are a few thoughts to get you started:
How to Stop Being a People-Pleasing Pastor
1. Get firm again on the vision you are trying to accomplish.
It appears you have one, but people-pleasing must be more important to you than accomplishing that vision. Not trying to sound harsh, but that’s the reality. We tend to do what we value most. You must begin to value the vision more than making people happy. Make sure it’s God-honoring and God-ordained. When you are leading a church, obviously you want to do the will of God. He gives us latitude, I believe, but we want to make sure whatever we do honors Him and gives Him glory.
That vision, though, is what should hold your feet to the fire. If it detracts or doesn’t line up with the vision God has given you, you shouldn’t be as enthusiastic about it, regardless of who brings it to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t say yes to other things, but you can clearly say, ”I’m sorry, but right now I’m chasing this vision God has given me.” Imagine the pressure Moses was under as a leader to please the people, but he had to hold to the vision God had given him and not cave to the pressure to always please people.