Being a perfectionist does not make you a successful leader; impairs productivity and well-being

The Economist – Mexico City

How many times have you met or seen a person who brags about being a perfectionist in everything they do and if someone isn’t, you just don’t consider them successful?

The reality is that seeking perfection is not a quality or something conducive to leadership because it becomes one of the biggest enemies a leader can face, why?

“Perfectionism leads to over-analysis and decision-making paralysis. Seeking perfection will only make you feel frustrated. You have to accept that it’s normal to make mistakes and that not everything is under your control, even if you don’t want to admit it”, explain Miguel Angel Arino and Pablo Maella, authors of the book “With the same stone”.

In their writing, the authors explain that generally things cannot go right on the first try or perfect as expected, and believing that perfection will be achieved in this way only generates frustration, stress, personal discredit, and instead of quality work, everything ends in an unfavorable outcome.

The problem is that by normalizing that one must be perfect in everything one does, leaders live under this culture that, if they don’t follow it, makes them think that they are not suitable for their tasks or they will not succeed , which I want. Also, they will not be able to make the right decisions, something critical for the management of a company.

“You have to take risks, yes, but knowing what risks you’re taking and being prepared to deal with the potential adverse consequences.”

The problems of perfection
When a leader seeks perfection, they cease to be realistic, begin to believe that they have more control over what happens in their lives than they may have, preventing them from achieving a broader vision and acting appropriately , which ultimately has consequences for the and the organization itself.

“There are many examples of how wanting results to be one-way leads to failure or a sense of frustration, as the unforeseen events of everyday life intervene to such an extent that the outcome is completely altered.”

At the associate level, the demand for perfection also harms their productivity and well-being, because even if they do optimal and quality work, more will always be demanded of them, just because the leader has a vision that is different from reality, and it will never be enough. In the end, people end up exhausted, with burnout syndrome, with a loss of work mission, unmotivated and with high levels of stress.

But the fact that a leader always seeks perfection is not just a personal matter, because having positions with too many demands, the level they demand from themselves increases, which makes them strive to be perfect.

The assessment data revealed that 56% of leaders have their productivity and morale affected by all the tasks they have to complete, the responsibilities assigned and the level required by the position they hold. This stress is transformed and passed on to the associates, so a balance between what is required and mental health needs to be worked on, a big challenge, but one that can be improved little by little.

How to improve?
Despite the pressures they may have, leaders must stop looking for perfection and simply focus on getting good results without causing more wear and tear on their health or their associates, or else they would have other crises like diseases. , high labor turnover, lower productivity, among others.

To this end, the authors share the following tips:

Don’t risk too much. Pressure is not a good counselor, so if you’re dealing with the stress of being perfect, it’s best to take some time to reflect and rest. This will give you a better view.
Be guided by intuition. Accept reality, even if it’s not one you like, and stay open to the natural course of things and, if necessary, change strategy or plans. Remember that nothing is perfect, nor can you control everything.

Don’t hold on to your ideas, listen to others, encourage them to give ideas, because this will create a better work than the original. In this way, you will also empower your collaborators.

Don’t demand the impossible from yourself or others. Sometimes, looking for the perfect, they think of things that can’t be done, so adapt to what you have in front of you and learn to make the most of it.
“We think we know more than we really do and that we have more control over things than we really do,” which shouldn’t be, they conclude.

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