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Are You An Attention Seeker or People Pleaser at Work?

Everyone wants to be liked – it’s a classic human trait. Yes, this includes even that one colleague who seems too perfect to care. The desire for acceptance, approval, and appreciation is a core part of being human.

That being said, if your workspace relationships have become too troublesome to manage, you need to acknowledge that you might be carrying some baggage around. Dysfunctional behavior like people-pleasing and attention-seeking stems from taxing early-life experiences. If you leave your issues unresolved, it can hamper your chances of attaining professional success.

Pexels | If you find yourself burdened by work that’s not even yours, know you have a problem

If you think you’re a people pleaser, you need to act quickly before it becomes an unfixable problem.

How to Figure Out if You’re a People Pleaser?

Chances are that if you’re a people pleaser, you probably wouldn’t know it. Luckily, Susan Schmitt Winchester, co-author of “Healing at Work: A Guide to Using Career Conflicts to Overcome Your Past and Build the Future You Deserve” says that the biggest red flag to look out for is overwhelming neediness. If you’ve ever been around a golden retriever puppy, you’d know exactly what this neediness is. It goes like, “Hey, give me attention“, “Hey, pat me on the head“, “Hey, tell me I’m a good girl/boy“.

Pexels | While said behavior is cute on a dog, that’ll definitely not be the case when you’re in a professional setup

Healthy and Unhealthy Approval

Schmitt Winchester mentions that there’s nothing wrong with seeking approval, as long as it’s healthy. The moment you start basing your self-worth on the feedback you receive from your superiors at work, it becomes unhealthy. Now here’s the thing: bosses don’t have the time to go around handing approvals. So, the chances of you getting it on the regular are pretty slim, to say the least. See the problem?

Pexels | When you develop the need for this type of feedback to value yourself and your work, the absence of it can turn you into a dysfunctional mess

Overcoming People-Pleasing Tendencies

Schmitt Winchester states that “adverse childhood experiences” are found in two-thirds of adults. These experiences create and foster unhealthy behaviors at the workplace which adversely affect both their work relationships and career.

The author also says that to break the cycle of approval-seeking and people-pleasing, the first step is recognizing that you’re not alone. The second thing you can do is invite workplace conflict by thinking of it as an opportunity to practice. Try saying no to tasks that other people can do. Maybe even learn how to say no respectfully. Little behavioral changes like so can go a long way.

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