The Pleaser Leader

This month’s newsletters will be about How We Love as Leaders.  In my office, I see many Christian leaders, lay and professional who cover the range of attachment styles.  This series is dedicated to helping understand what each attachment style looks like and how they can improve as leaders within theKingdom of Christ.

Pleaser leaders are like the avoidant leader in that they too are distressed by strong and negative emotions.  This includes their internal negative emotions and most certainly the unpleasant emotions of others.   Conflict averse, pleasers are good news junkies who often see what they want to see and ignore anything that may be upsetting.  They tend to spin people and things into happy talk and think of themselves as optimists.  While optimism is a good trait to have, sometimes it can be mistaken for not wanting to look at reality.  For in so doing, they would have to face unpleasant discussions and emotions that make them uncomfortable.

As such, as they meet with people they will tend to smile, look for something positive to hide behind and dwell on that.  They will walk away feeling good (which is their number one priority, albeit unconsciously) and assuming the other person is good as well… which most of the time is not the case.  If they believe they have helped the person in some way, they will derive much satisfaction from the ministry encounter and build their self esteem upon that.

If there is a negative problem, their goal is quick reconciliation without thoroughly digging deeper into the problem.  Why?  Because they are not trained to ask harder questions and dig deeper… into themselves or others.  For this would involve extended conflict and discussion which the pleaser is not equipped to handle.  The reason is they never learned it within their family of origin.  They were instead frightened by an angry, critical or distant parent, and so they remain fear based into adulthood.

The strengths of the pleaser leader are fairly obvious, as they are very pleasant to be around.  They are warm, inclusive, generous, fun loving, and encouraging.  They make good chaplains and are very encouraging and supportive. They can also become good teachers if so inclined and gifted.

But wishing to remain in people’s good graces, they struggle with boundaries, have difficulty saying no, may end up sacrificing family time for ministry time and have poor self care.  They will do little for themselves and are happiest when they are making others happy.  And while this all sounds good, they aren’t growing into an image more like Christ, they are in fact becoming more imprisoned in the jail cell of fear which over time will cause them to become indecisive, anxious and even paralyzed in decision making processes

I see this type of leader (male and female) in my office frequently, and in fact the above description, is really me some twenty five years ago.  I’m a different person now because I chose to change, because the cost of remaining the same was too costly, personally destructive thus causing me to be ineffective as a leader.

In a few weeks, we will begin to discuss how to help each of these leaders, but next week we will describe the vacillator leader.

Thanks for listening,



Next week:  The Vacillator Leader