As a recovering pleaser, I see it.
Psychologists will tell you that what you see in others is also what you see in yourself (consciously or otherwise). So it's no surprise that when I was coaching someone recently, I clearly saw a repeating cycle they were in.
Their cycle looked like this:
If you were a psychologist, we could have a session about how you see this cycle me and I couldn't deny it! BUT I am wayyyy better than I was a few decades ago!
I remember when we moved to a new city and I landed a job (no small feat on a work visa). I was talking to a Tanya, girlfriend from home, and shared that I was so grateful to have the job. I told her that I was thinking about making some cookies to bring in on the first day of my employment as an expression of my gratitude.
Tanya very gingerly told me that cookies might feel a little weird.
When Tanya said "weird" out loud, it made sense that it would feel a bit awkward for the staff to be gifted without any relationship with me, but in my head, it seemed completely normal.
That small comment got me thinking. There have definitely been times when I wanted peers or teammates to step it up, so I would gesture with some homemade baking. Even as I type that, I feel a bit silly typing it "out loud."
Did cookies have any effect on who was working the hardest? Or the level of engagement? Nope.
I learned how to communicate expectations, how to have awkward and tough conversations, and how to hold teams accountable. Sure, cookies were a part of it, but not the beginning, middle, and end of my strategy, which was arguably the strategy in my early career days. If this pleaser can leverage communication to affect change, you can too.