An Appeaser is the opposite of the Micromanager I wrote about previously in How to Know If Your Are a Micromanager. True micromanagers get a bad rap and deservedly so. However, if you’re an Appeaser, your leadership style is just as ineffective and can cause low team morale.
The Appeaser’s Narrative
If you’re an Appeaser, you seek “peace” and stability over achieving desired results in a timely manner. Consequently, you often keep your “head in the sand”. The story you tell yourself is that it’s your job to make sure everyone gets along. Also, you don’t go looking for trouble. You like to believe that if you don’t see problems, they don’t exist. Thus, you stay out of things as much as possible and allow your team to monitor themselves. No news is good news, so if you don’t hear anything negative, you assume your team knows what to do and will get things done. Accordingly, you don’t check in or follow up on their progress.
Appeaser will often:
- Allow team members to operate on their own assumptions about their roles and responsibilities to remain under the belief that things are all right.
- Rely almost completely on team’s ability to self-organize while setting few if any parameters.
- Disregard being explicit about purpose, objectives, values, norms, or system parameters.
- Avoid following up on progress for fear of walking into problems you don’t want to face.
- Avoid conflict to avert negative reactions from others.
- Resolve individual complaints to give the complainant what they want for the sake of peace in the moment, without considering implications of the decision to the team or larger group.
Results of Appeasement
As an Appeaser, other may see you as warm and kind; however, you may create more disruption than you think as you pursue your idea of peace because . . . .
- Work is stymied and the team is less effective than it could be.
- Team members are often stuck in “limbo” waiting for things to move forward before they can take their work to the next level.
- Team members are put in the awkward spot of explaining to those outside the team why things aren’t moving forward or why issues aren’t addressed.
- You undermine group cohesion by granting too many individual exceptions to standard policy and procedure.
Shifting from Appeaser to Leader
If you see yourself as an Appeaser, you can shift to a more balanced leadership approach by seeing yourself more like a Steward of the work. When you do this, you learn to place the work at the center of every decision you make instead of having “peace”. You will find yourself facilitating discussions to get everyone on the same page regarding purpose and norms. You’ll put conditions in place that allow for robust discussions to hash out topics that might have been too unnerving for you previously. In short, you will move from Appeaser to Leader.
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