The Fallacy of Appeasement
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
appease[ uh-peez ]-to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.
Whether in the workforce, sports or politics appeasement is usually a recipe for disaster. In most instances, well-intentioned people generally are the appeasers. In an attempt to please everyone they usually end up pleasing no one. My wife, Roni, always says, "The inability to say 'no' is usually one of the most expensive mistakes people make."
There is a mis-guided thought process that, if you give someone their way, they will start to see the logic of your argument. Time and again this concept is proven wrong. For example; when a child cries incessantly and you give him/her a cookie, what have you taught them about getting a cookie? Time to cry incessantly.
The same is true in the workforce. People get raises they have not earned and titles they do not deserve in order to keep peace. In an attempt to maintain calm and protect other's feelings you have potentially lit a fuse that can burn your company to the ground. The key word is feelings.
We have allowed feelings to dictate corporate policy and domestic & international politics. In fact, using one's feelings as the litmus test for correctness, woman sports, under Title IX will soon, and sadly, be a thing of the past. Decades of work and great strides in women's sports will disappear because of how people feel.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Kindness and empathy are critical components of making good, healthy decisions. However, we enter a dangerous interstate, going the wrong way, when we let the exception be the rule. At that moment there are no rules. There is no right and wrong; anything goes. When that happens, there are no laws to govern companies, communities, and governments.
We have been mandated by God to love everyone. No where were we instructed to agree with everyone. No where were we told that, because someone feels a certain way that they must be right. Principles matter! Policies change regularly in any society, principles are steadfast. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "A people that value it's privileges above it's principles soon loses both."
As a leader of a team, company or government, I encourage each one of you to understand the value of empathy, while maintaining principles. I caution you not to let feelings dictate what's right and wrong, but to be sensitive to people's feelings.
People follow people they like and trust. They don't always have to agree with you, to follow you. Be someone worthy of following.