Perfect is Imperfect!

In your efforts to run a successful business and be a great leader, are you truly thinking about your people?  Do you find yourself protecting your staff from having to do the boring stuff?  Do you find yourself spending time reviewing sloppy work?  Or perhaps you simply don’t trust your staff to get it right?  If the answer to any of these is yes – then what are your options?

I was working with a coaching client last week and as a perfectionist and a people pleaser, he has developed a habit of working long hours to ensure that all output is 100% right.  He is a charismatic, energetic and empathetic boss. But he is tired, standards within the team seem to be slipping and staff appear to be taking advantage of his willing nature.

He concluded that if he continued with the status quo:

So what was his answer?  Empowerment.

Empowerment is a tricky skill to master.  It takes a coaching style and a long term approach. It will cost you time and effort in the short-term but will pay off in buckets.

By doing the boring stuff and correcting their own work, your staff will learn and grow, improve systems and innovate.  By supporting your staff to think through their challenges, find solutions and implement them, you will empower them to think for themselves.  It’s a long-term solution because in the short-term, mistakes will be made and you will need to be there to support your teams to remedy their mistakes.

But what will you gain?  Staff who are accountable for their work and standards.  A motivated workforce who are proud of their output.  More hours for you to work on the bigger picture.

As my client talked, he came to the realization, that by him trying to ensure all output is perfect is not actually a perfect solution for his staff.  He is doing them a dis-service.  How will they learn and grow and develop into leaders themselves?  And he is doing himself a dis-service, having less time to do his own job of working “on”the business instead of “in”it.

And so it seems we have a paradox – Perfect is Imperfect. Making mistakes, correcting our mistakes and doing the boring stuff is all part of learning.  Perfect!

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Phil Davies. Managing Director. Abatec Limited.

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