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Overcoming Perfectionism and Setting Realistic Expectations in Leadership

The burden of expectation is heavy on a leader's shoulders. You could feel that you must always be perfect, know everything, and never make mistakes. You, as the leader, can feel like you have to put the finishing touches on every last puzzle piece. In reality, the whole puzzle can be assembled even if some parts are less-than-perfect or not quite right.

Being a leader with a perfectionism problem might take time and effort. Perfectionist leaders are less likely to delegate work to team members since they spend so much time on each assignment themselves. Likewise, striving for perfection can be counterproductive, increasing the risk of burnout and lowering morale among colleagues. The result may be an atmosphere of unrealistic expectations for the team, which leaves its members feeling underappreciated, overworked, and inadequate.

One way to avoid perfectionism in leadership is to change the emphasis from reaching for perfection to establishing realistic expectations and goals. It involves knowing your capabilities and limitations, as well as accepting the fact that you will make some blunders. You may minimize burnout and create a more manageable workload by defining reasonable goals for yourself and your team.

Here are some ROI methods you can use to establish reasonable goals:

Incorporate the 80/20 principle into your life. This principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, claims that 80% of your outcomes are determined by 20% of your input. Rather than trying to be flawless in every way, you should direct your efforts toward the 20% of steps that will have the most impact. You can get more done and feel less stressed if you organize your tasks according to priority.

Delegate responsibility. As a leader, you should not feel obligated to take on every responsibility yourself. In addition to lightening your burden, delegating duties to your team members allows you to give them opportunities to learn and grow in their roles. As a result, the group may become more invested in its work and inspired to rise to the challenge of fulfilling the organization's goals.

Acknowledge the process, not just the result. Fight the urge to focus solely on the final product by instead honoring the road traveled and the steps forward taken by both you and your team. Employee morale can be increased, and a more pleasant atmosphere can be established by publicly acknowledging team members' contributions.

Embrace criticism. A good leader is receptive to input from subordinates and works to improve based on that input. Doing this lets you see where you expect too much and change your strategy accordingly. A more pleasant and productive work can be established simply by encouraging and accepting constructive criticism.

Build up a growth mindset. Leaders that struggle with perfectionism tend to interpret setbacks as a reflection of who they are and how competent they are. By adopting a growth mentality, you can see setbacks not as fatal but as stepping stones to your future success. Leaders who take failures in stride and use them to grow as individuals and in their roles are more likely to succeed.

Show yourself some kindness. Perfectionist leaders tend to be very hard on themselves when they make mistakes and show little empathy for those around them. You may stop this loop by showing compassion and accepting that, like everyone else, you will make errors and face challenges. You may keep your motivation and health up and avoid the pitfalls of self-criticism if you treat yourself kindly and compassionately.

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