Women are “people pleasers.” This is oft cited as a contributing factor to the continued pay gap between men and women, as well as our inability to negotiate (“Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It”) or step up to the boardroom table (Sheryl Sandberg).
There has been a lot written lately about this subject and many question whether it’s nature or nurture. Others reject the notion that women are not as aggressive as men …it’s a choice not a condition.
One of the best responses I have heard to the people pleaser conundrum is to reframe it. How can you use it to your advantage? Last fall I interviewed Laurel Touby, the founder of mediabistroon her 40:20 Vision. She had a paradigm changing way to look at people pleasing. It’s what can make you a successful entrepreneur.
“If you are going to be a people pleaser, get paid for it.”
“I didn’t come up with the idea. The customer came up with the idea and I, being a people pleaser that I am wanted to get this positive stroke from the customer. I never knew I was a people pleaser. That was the type of entrepreneur I was. I was just trying to please these people.”
On women entrepreneurs:
“That’s why I think that women are really good at business if they want to be because they’re so good at customer service. If you think about it, that’s what we are doing all the time. Be the ultimate one and make sure that people are willing to pay a lot for it.”
Laurel credits the growth of mediabistro to listening to the customer. What started as a networking party grew to an international resource for media / creative content professionals. Today over 1.4 million users have registered for its various services including job postings, educational courses, events, forums and its premium subscription service, AvantGuild.
Listen and learn and then do. Great advice for anyone who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and starting a company. I think it could apply to more than entrepreneurs. Focus on who your customer is, listen to what they want and be their evangelist at the company. Resist the urge to take on every assignment. Instead set realistic expectations so you can focus on the work that will please the customer and thus the bottom line.