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.

Client’s Story

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.

Excellence vs. 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.

6 ways to Promote Excellence in your Team

  1. Set Realistic Goals: When setting goals for your team, make sure they are realistic and achievable. This will help to build confidence and motivate your team to work hard to achieve their goals.
  1. Encourage Learning: Encourage your team to learn from their mistakes and failures. Provide them with feedback and support to help them improve and grow.
  1. Foster a Culture of Collaboration: Encourage your team to work together and support each other. This will create a culture of collaboration where everyone is working towards a common goal.
  1. Delegate: Trust your team to take on responsibilities and delegate tasks. This will allow you to focus on the big picture and strategic priorities.
  1. Celebrate Success: Celebrate the successes and achievements of your team. This will motivate and inspire them to continue to work hard and strive for excellence.
  1. Emphasise Progress, Not Perfection: Instead of focusing on achieving perfection, focus on progress. Celebrate the progress your team makes towards their goals, and use it as a stepping stone towards achieving excellence.

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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