Perfectionism in Leaders: A Gift or a Curse?

Perfectionism in Leaders: A Gift or a Curse?
Author Name: Nadine Zeinoun
Date: Aug 04 2021
Category: Leadership

When coaching senior leaders and business owners, I often hear the following statement: “I like things to be perfect” or “I tend to be a perfectionist”! What I find very interesting, is that they say this in a positive way, as if this is some kind of strength or talent that they possess.

Do you really think that perfectionism is a strength?

Upside of Perfectionism

When leaders tend to exhibit behaviors of perfectionism in the work they do, they will probably put a lot of effort into developing their skills, mastering their crafts, perfecting their output, and this will surely help them to stand out among the crowd! 

As a result, clients and the people they serve will be highly satisfied from working with them and this, of course, is a very important driver for success.

Downside of Perfectionism

On the other hand, when taken overboard, perfectionism in leaders will drive leaders to have unrealistic expectations from their teams and from people around them. They will not be appreciative of any efforts being put by the team, but rather focus and continuously highlighting the negatives and the drawbacks within the team. This of course demotivates the team and makes them feel unappreciated, which will later impact the quality of work they give.

Leaders exhibiting behaviors of perfectionism will always strive for continuous growth and perfection and will constantly pursue higher and tougher objectives, forgetting that this puts pressure on people around them and may throw them and others into burnout.

Even within themselves, leaders exhibiting behaviors of perfectionism will not feel satisfaction and happiness. Their continuous strive for perfection makes them feel dissatisfied with whatever they do, always finding flaws in themselves, always criticizing themselves and beating themselves up. Imagine what that would do to their self-esteem and self-confidence! 

Another very important point to keep in mind about perfectionism; it drives leaders to put so much focus on the results that they lose the enjoyment of the process and of the achievement itself. Can you imagine a life without a sense of joy in what you do and that is free from celebrating what you have achieved???? Yes that is a big price to pay!

And the list goes on and on and on…

Take away message

As you can see from the above, perfectionism may drive you to be great at what you do and to set yourself apart from others in the crafts you provide, but if you don’t put limits to this perfectionism, it will cost you a lot! Your self-esteem, your self-confidence, your sense of achievement, and most importantly it will deprive you from HAPPINESS!!!!!

So, is it worth it? 

The questions I would like you to ask yourself: How can you balance between providing high quality services yet keep your team engaged, happy and committed? What can you do to ensure business objectives are met, yet you are happy & satisfied as a leader? 

Keep your focus on providing great output, yet put some focus on your team and your own well-being as well. Success in Life is all about having that balance!

If you find yourself struggling with perfectionism and would like to better engage your team and create a happy environment while increasing business results, I would love to support you by providing you with a FREE 30-minute Co-Creation Session! 

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