Posts Tagged ‘assertiveness’

The pros and cons of being a People Pleaser!

April 11, 2013

iStock_000010736302XSmallDo you find yourself struggling to manage your time because you’re too busy running around after others?

Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to requests for help/support and end up working late to catch up on your work?

A phrase I often hear from clients working on resolving time/stress management issues is:

“It’s because I’m a people pleaser, isn’t it?!”

Can you relate to this? There are often times when the motivation behind our actions is to help or please others, and sometimes this can have a negative impact on other things.

But being a ‘people pleaser’ isn’t all bad … it just depends whether or not you overdo it!

Here’s my take on the case for and against ‘People Pleasing’ …


Imagine you are starting a new job or taking on a new position, and you want to make a good impression.

This can give rise to a tendency to say ‘yes’ to several requests for help, advice, guidance, etc.

It can also be a great opportunity to showcase your talents and skills, as well as show everyone how good your ‘people skills’ are!

Even in areas where you don’t officially hold responsibility, you may have experience, and this can be another opportunity to:

  • help others,
  • build rapport,
  • establish your place as one of the team (as long as you’re not stepping on someone else’s toes!)


iStock_000018857374XSmallWithout keeping this in check you can become exhausted!

Not only are you doing things to help others, but you’re having to find time to do the things that you should be doing for yourself … leaving you very little time to unwind.

This can lead to stress and a feeling of overwhelm, because you can’t handle all the demands you’ve agreed to.

If you’re not careful, the following may also happen:

  • you gain a reputation as ‘the person who gets things done for others’,
  • you are taken for granted,
  • you feel guilty when you realise you can’t please everyone!


Saying ‘yes’ and looking for opportunities to help others should be done in moderation, whilst being mindful of the things that are important to do for you / your role.

Learn to say ‘no’ more often, and be confident that your team colleagues will respect you for who you are and for your integrity when you need to say no … not just for your willingness to help others.

Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this topic 🙂

IMG_0060 - Version 2I’m Debbie Inglis and I work with school leaders, team leaders and teachers helping them to be more effective and successful in their roles. Contact me to find out how I can help with any of the areas mentioned in this or any other blog post.

Call me on o1629 734101 or email:

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 8

December 20, 2012

Day #8: Be realistic – you’re not superhuman!

iStock_000000373073XSmallKnow your limits and don’t say “yes” to everything because you’re concerned about letting people down if you say “no”.

If you’re the type of person who likes to help others, you may find yourself inundated with requests or feel obliged to help those who seem to be struggling.

This is all fine if you can manage additional tasks without impacting on the important things you already have lined up to do.

Keep demands on your time in check; stop and think before answering “yes, of course I’ll help you with that” …

Do you really have time?

What are you prepared to give up to do this?

Be prepared to say a polite “no thanks”, if necessary.

See #3 on Day 1 for other assertive phrases you could use!

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 5

December 17, 2012

Day #5: Wear Your Confidence Coat!

iStock_000008122926XSmallAs you add the required layers to ensure you’re warm enough this winter, make sure you’re also wearing your ‘Confidence Coat’ at the start of each day.

This isn’t about giving yourself an excuse to go shopping! It’s about making a conscious decision to give yourself an extra confidence boost so you’re more capable of dealing with the season’s additional pressures.


When we’re feeling confident, we have more energy, are able to deal with difficult situations more easily, and we improve our ability to be resilient.

Wearing your confidence coat will mean different things for each of us. For example, it might be about smiling more, or being more assertive.

In ‘Want more confidence in the workplace?’ I suggest a few ideas for building confidence. Or you might like to look at ‘Are you making the most of who you are?’ for more ideas and how to gain useful feedback to increase confidence levels.

How does your ‘confidence coat’ make you look to others?

The 12 Stress Less Days to Christmas: Day 1

December 13, 2012

CDay #1: Decide that this year you’re going to stress less about the things you have no control over!

You can’t control the weather, the queues, other people’s demands, the cost of the latest iPad, etc.

But you can control your preparation and your response to these things.

1. Be prepared for colder mornings

Factor in an extra 10 mins each morning to defrost the car, and make sure you have plenty of windscreen wash – including a spare bottle of it in the boot!

Also allow a couple of extra minutes to put on any additional layers you’ll need too.

2. Accept that queues are part and parcel (excuse the pun!) of the season

Use any time that you’re stuck in a queue to plan something; e.g. your Christmas present wish list! Or use it to practise something you need to present at work … anything other than stressing about how long it’s taking to clear this queue.

I’ve started singing along to all the Christmas songs that are now firmly embedded into many radio programmes. I’ve surprised myself with how many words I know!

And here’s a favourite of many …

3. Other people’s stress doesn’t need to add to yours

As demands on people’s time increases, those who struggle to manage this can put unintentional pressure on those around them. If you have the time and energy to help, then do so; if it’s going to put you under extra pressure, then politely and assertively decline requests with:

“Sorry I can’t right now, I’m just in the middle of something”

“That’s not a good time for me. How about ….” (suggest a time that puts you under less pressure)

The first step in reducing your stress levels at this time of year is recognising the things that cause stress for you (see #2 Know your limits). Once you do this, you’re in a better position to act to be stress-free!

More tomorrow …

Say “no” and be respected for it

February 17, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 17

Sometimes it’s hard to say “no”. We may want to, and feel we have a right to, yet we still find ourselves saying “yes” or “OK” and taking on the associated pressures as a result.

I’m going to put this in the context of work, for this blog, but some of the principles / tips can equally be applied out of the workplace.

Under what circumstances might we need to say “no”?

  • we already have enough on our plate
  • we have other, higher priority jobs
  • what we’re being asked to do is not our job / responsibility
  • we are not qualified (or not insured) to do what’s being asked

Perhaps you can think of more to add to this list.

So we know we sometimes need to say no, but why don’t we?

  1. we don’t want to upset or offend the person asking
  2. we’re not sure how to say no positively
  3. we’re afraid of what people might think of us
  4. we are afraid of the response we’ll get
  5. we might not feel we have the right to say no
  6. we’re indecisive
  7. we’re tired / stressed and it’s easier (in the short term!) to say yes
  8. there’s a lack of confidence to say no

Perhaps you have a favourite from the list above? Or have other reasons?

In my role of coaching / training in the workplace, the most common reasons I come across are the top 3 on the list, and the 7th.

Being respected for saying no involves acknowledging your own feelings and rights, whilst responding respectfully to the other person. It involves being assertive, standing up for yourself whilst not attacking or blaming.

Here are some top tips on saying no and being respected for it …

Tip 1 – Smile! When you smile genuinely whilst saying no it’s showing the other person that there’s no malice intended and you are being respectful of them

Tip 2 – Acknowledge their request whilst respecting your own feelings

  • “I appreciate you’re under pressure, and want some help. I’ll be able to help you once I’ve finished this.”
  • “Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have ______ to do”.

Tip 3 – Delay Experience has shown that if you ask the person to come back later, they usually find a way to resolve their problem in the meantime.

  • “Now is not a good time for me. But I can do (this afternoon / tomorrow)”

Often people ask you to do something as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to feeling unable to sort it themselves. They can sound as if they urgently need help, but beware that this could be their way of getting things done by proxy!

Tip 4 – Stand your ground Be consistent with your responses if they persistently keep asking

  • “As I said, I’m unable to help you now, but you’re welcome to try me again in about an hour”

Having worked in a highly stressful environment for many years I understand that saying “yes” can be a good way to help each other, develop team spirit etc. But we need to know where to draw the line. If you’re the one doing all the giving, and this isn’t reciprocated, it can lead to unnecessary pressure on you, which has a knock-on effect on your own productivity levels.

Have you any examples of how you say no to your colleagues?

Have you seen others in the workplace effectively say no?

(Photo courtesy of jscreationzs)