In my work, I often see leaders that have traits of perfectionism. If this was helpful to a certain point, now it is starting to sabotage them.
John (not his real name) is a senior leader in a tech company. He has a reputation for being a hard-working, detail-oriented leader who always pushes himself and his team to do their best. As the company grew and the pressure mounted, John’s perfectionism started to become a problem.
He was very critical of his team, focusing on minor flaws and overlooking their accomplishments.
He also started to micromanage their work, always checking in and making changes to their projects.
The morale decreased! The team members became frustrated and demotivated by John’s impossible standards. In the end, John’s perfectionism caused him to lose some of his key employees.
What John did do? In our coaching sessions, he gained awareness of his behaviour and the impact it has on the team. He looked at what options there were and made his choices. He focused on promoting excellence in his teams without pushing for perfection.
While perfectionism and excellence may seem similar, they are fundamentally different.
Excellence is about doing the best you can with the resources available to you. It’s about setting realistic goals and working hard to achieve them.
Perfection is an unattainable ideal. It’s about achieving flawlessness, often at the expense of personal well-being, relationships, and work performance.
When leaders push for perfection, they create an environment where mistakes are not tolerated, and failure is seen as a weakness. This leads to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout in their teams. In contrast, when leaders focus on promoting excellence, they create an environment where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and failure is seen as a stepping stone to success.
When you promote excellence in your team, it can lead to many benefits such as increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and improved teamwork.
By fostering a culture of excellence, leaders can create a work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and inspired to do their best work.
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