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The Pros and Cons of Perfectionistic Leaders
From:
Society for the Advancement of Consulting Society for the Advancement of Consulting
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Claremont , CA
Friday, March 22, 2019

 
Article by Maynard Brusman, March 21, 2019

Perfectionism’s Pros and Cons

Leaders who strive for excellence can lay strong foundations for their organizations. They:

  • Aim for the highest standards, through ethical conduct and honorable motives
  • Are dedicated to the organization’s mission, with support and intentionality
  • Exude reliability, honesty, integrity, diligence and perseverance
  • Honor organizational policies, rules and practices with the structure they provide
  • Are detail-oriented, with a clear understanding of how things work
  • Have few ego issues, seeking every opportunity to excel
  • Are terrific teachers who help others learn and improve

But when taken to extremes, these traits create dissent, employee dissatisfaction and turnover. When leaders prioritize outcomes over people, employee morale and a leader’s legacy suffer. On the negative end of the spectrum, perfectionistic leaders:

  • Hold unrealistic expectations of excellence that people can never meet
  • Engage in black-and-white thinking, leading them to reach rash or unfair conclusions
  • Believe their way is the best way—in short, the only way
  • Criticize those who disagree with their assessments and solutions
  • Assume others cannot complete work as effectively as they can
  • Take on too much work, without delegating, believing others will achieve lesser results
  • Make goals seem more critical than necessary
  • Often micromanage or control projects to ensure their standards prevail
  • Can be tough to please, as results are seldom good enough
  • Pressure themselves into doing better and continually need more from their people
  • Are so focused on methods and results that they fail to notice (or deal with) their detrimental effects on employees
  • Are unwilling to develop other leaders or successors, believing no one can lead the organization or replace them

If some of these behaviors sound uncomfortably familiar to you, perfectionism may be jeopardizing your organization and career. Your people need room to breathe and the freedom to contribute with the skills they have. There’s almost always more than one way to achieve a goal. Perfection, as desirable as it may seem, is deceptively dangerous.

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
Trusted Leadership Advisor

Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coach Federation

Board Certified Coach (BCC)

I coach emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders to cultivate trust and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture who produce results.

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For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252

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San Francisco, California 94105

Tags: ,perfectionistic leaders, emotional intelligence, executive coaching, leadership development, mindful leadership
 
Executive Director
Society for the Advancement of Consulting
Claremont, CA
909-630-3943
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