Redefine Perfect

Are you a perfectionist? If so, those feelings could cause you to mistrust the abilities of others. They may even keep you focused on the failures vs. the achieved successes.

I have worked with and coached many highly-driven, high standard teammates. In fact, I am attracted to them; they are my favorite people to lead. I love their spirit, and I’d rather redirect a high-strung maverick than kick a lazy mule in the rear. However, I’ve learned that when I give driven perfectionists leadership responsibilities, I must be committed and consistent with coaching and redirecting their perfectionist quality.

So how do you lead yourself or other perfectionists?

  • Learn to be okay with the imperfect. As a leader, you won’t always perform with perfection, and you won’t have perfect employees who always do perfect work.
  • Don’t get stuck in the delegating dilemma. Many perfectionists are fearful of delegating because they are afraid the task or project won’t be done to their high standard. Proper delegation is a skill set you must learn to master or you won’t be able to benefit from growth through replication.
  • Share the opportunity for growth. If something on your list doesn’t fall in the top three most critical areas that need your attention, it’s something you can coach a teammate to do. As a leader, focus on the items that only you can do, then give others the opportunity to earn some of your tasks.
  • Re-prioritize your perfection. Transition your task-oriented perfection and try to align that achievement drive towards your leadership responsibilities. Seeking perfection in production is fine, but it doesn’t work in leadership because leadership is about influence. Rigid perfection won’t influence.

Having a perfectionist as a churn-and-burn producer makes for a happy environment; however, when expected to lead, the same talents that made that producer a company hero are the very ones that can cause their leadership success to crash and burn. It doesn’t have to be that way. Re-calibrate your definition of perfect.

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