You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Please Everyone--and Watch Your Business Fail This 5-point evaluation will determine whether you're doing your employees a favor or your business a disservice.

By Suzy Girard-Ruttenberg

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Would you describe yourself as a "pleaser"? Women in our culture are often raised to please others with the same intensity that China raises Olympic gymnasts to compete--early on and with great expectations.

While it's not life-threatening and doesn't prevent us from growing up, becoming educated or starting a business, over-pleaser's syndrome (my term), or OPS, can compromise our quality of life. Considering how many people we interact with--employees, investors, customers, vendors--the cost of pleasing everyone can be detrimental to our sanity and, ultimately, our bottom line.

One area where pleasing others can create the most risk is an entrepreneur's relationship with her employees. One weary business owner hired new employees to free her from working weekends. Yet she found herself working alone in her business for the third weekend in a row, even though she'd hired others to cover the weekend shifts.

"Everybody had unavoidable conflicts, so here I am again," she complained. "I do not want to seem unreasonable or have them hate me, but why am I working on the weekends instead of my employees?"

Good question.

This woman had a clear case of OPS--a numbing acceptance of circumstances brought on by her desire to please (and not alienate) her employees, rather than be supported by those she hired.

Here's a five-point self-evaluation to help you determine whether you're susceptible to--or already tainted with--a chronic and business-debilitating case of the dreaded OPS.

  1. Are you a crutch for your employees? If you design your schedule around your employees, cater to their work requirements and preferences or perform any part of their job, then you're acting like a classic over-pleaser. Your employees surely appreciate your willingness to take on their workloads, but you risk becoming their crutch instead of their leader.
  2. Do your employees report to you or do you chase after them for updates? If you find yourself checking, chasing or repeatedly requesting updates from employees to find out what is going on in your own business, you need to try something different. The "hate to bother you . . ." management approach is a classic trait of serial pleasers. But it harms your business by keeping you out of the loop on daily and important developments.
  3. Do you counsel employees on their personal troubles? If you spend any part of your day listening to or counseling employees about their personal problems, you may be running a shelter instead of a business. Worse, if you subsidize housing or transportation for your employees, loan them money, hire lawyers for them or grant time off that isn't accounted for, your business may become a costly vehicle for enablement rather than a profitable place of employment. You compromise your future if you focus on providing shelter for troubled souls. Has it happened already?
  4. Are your employees not paying for themselves? Do your employees justify their pay through productivity? Employees must deliver value greater than all the costs incurred in hiring, training and retaining them. Otherwise, keeping employees becomes another extension of pleasing vs. being accountable to your business's success. This dead-end situation causes long-term consequences for you and your company.
  5. Do your employees make more money than you do? If you're not taking home more money than your employees, you've set yourself up for problems. Business owners shouldn't go without a paycheck or get paid less than their employees. This signals fiscal scarcity and OPS behavior that is both risky and dangerous to the health of your business.

How did you do? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a kind and compassionate person known for having a heart of gold. Good for you. But you're likely a pleaser, and your OPS could put your much-beloved employees (and you) out on the street, so to speak. This, in the end, pleases no one.

Ready to achieve mastery over your time? Columnist, business and life-coach Suzy Girard-Ruttenberg is now offering "90 days to Complete Time Mastery," an exclusive phone-coaching workshop guaranteed to change your life and grow your business by redesigning your usage of time. For details, email Suzy at suzy@girard-associates.com or call 561-883-6006.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Data & Recovery

This File Backup Tool Subscription Is $25 for Life for One Week Only

AOEMI Backupper Professional is designed to protect, store, and transfer user's files for them.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Business News

James Clear Explains Why the 'Two Minute Rule' Is the Key to Long-Term Habit Building

The hardest step is usually the first one, he says. So make it short.

Business News

Microsoft's New AI Can Make Photographs Sing and Talk — and It Already Has the Mona Lisa Lip-Syncing

The VASA-1 AI model was not trained on the Mona Lisa but could animate it anyway.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Living

Get Your Business a One-Year Sam's Club Membership for Just $14

Shop for office essentials, lunch for the team, appliances, electronics, and more.