7 Signs of a Perfectionist Leader.

You watch a video portraying a perfect boss. You read interviews of high achievers in leading business magazines. You notice they have thousands of followers on Linkedin. There is a constant feeding of that image of a perfect leader in your mind. Someone who is invincible.

Be like him/her (Iske jaise bano) - There are constant reminders from childhood to adulthood wanting you to be perfect. And your journey towards perfectionism begins.

This desire to be perfect is not uncommon, but a growing number of people are taking it to the other extreme and trying to live to unrealistic ideals.

According to a study on perfectionism across generations by Thomas Curran & Andrew Hill, perfectionism has increased drastically by 33% since 1989.

What are signs of perfectionism? Are perfectionism and excellence the same thing? We will explore answers to these questions in this article.

Do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist?

Here are a few indicators to reflect upon:

1. You want to do everything yourself as you don’t trust others’ quality of work. Therefore, even though you have team members, you end up with the lion share's of work. You think it is easier to do it yourself rather than develop the team's capacity.

2. You think it is about you and not about the job at hand, so there is a high level of personal attachment to the output. This makes it difficult for you to accept constructive feedback. The only thing you are looking for is appreciation and you spend extra effort in making sure that the output is first-time-right so that no one can find a single mistake in your work.

3. You are so self-critical that you can’t take any outside criticism. You read and re-read your emails, you find faults in your way of working and are on a continuous self-improvement mission. You are not satisfied easily by your own output, and secretly believe that you could have done better.

4. You get super anxious when it comes to presentations, board meetings or high visibility events. You worry about what people will think about you or your work. It is likely that you experience disturbed sleep the previous night and your mind plays out different scenarios of what could go wrong

5. You just can’t accept yourself making mistakes. Mistakes for you are all about losing face and receiving criticism. Therefore, you do your best to avoid mistakes, even if it means delaying something or missing deadlines. If indeed someone points out a different way of thinking, you could get very defensive and secretly think that it is a "massive disaster" that this has happened and you have been exposed.

6. You do not seek support. You think it is your sole responsibility to complete a certain task and collaboration does not come naturally to you. You equate seeking help with failure and that makes it pretty lonely for you even though you have huge organizational support available.

7. You find it rather difficult to delegate or empower your people. The idea that you may have to relinquish control doesn't give you comfort as you want to be able to have a line-of-sight to all that is happening that you are ultimately responsible for. You may end up exhausting yourself in the process or may get into micro-managing your team.

At this point, you may be thinking, “I am not a perfectionist, I just want my work to exude excellence. There is nothing wrong with that”.

Well, I am not surprised. Many people mistake perfectionism for excellence. But the fact is -

Perfectionism is not excellence.

Perfectionism and excellence are poles apart. While excellence allows you to enjoy your work and grow, perfectionism stresses you out as you are working towards unachievable and moving goals.

Perfectionism originates from the fear of being judged, excellence comes from a place of joy & ease.

It is not difficult to spot a difference between a micromanaging perfectionist who exudes nervous energy and an excellent leader who exudes grace and positive vibes.

It is wonderful to take pride in good work and excellence, but it is exhausting to be a perfectionist. It drains your energy.

If you think you belong to the perfectionists’ club, do you think it is ok?

Or do you want to change something about it? What would you like to change?

I will leave you with these questions for now.

I will further investigate about perfectionism in my next blog – Is it ok to be a perfectionist? Look out for it.

Meanwhile, please do send me your thoughts regarding perfectionism. I look forward to hearing from you.

Joy & abundance


Yoshita Swarup Sharma:

Founder & CEO - A Brighter Life | ICF Certified Executive Coach | Leadership facilitator | NLP Practitioner| Inner Transformation Specialist

Yoshita Swarup Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder of A Brighter Life, is an internationally certified executive coach (PCC). For the last eleven years, she has coached several senior leaders and CXO across the variety of industries and organizations. Recently she was awarded as one of the most influential coaching leaders of India by the World HRD Congress. She's a leadership facilitator, advanced NLP Practitioner and a specialist on personal transformation. She writes her blog from her own experiences and reflections . She brings with her 23 years of overall work experience and has previously worked as a Marketing professional in corporates like Coca-Cola, Dabur and Ranbaxy She's also a Kathak student and co-founder of Subah, A Covid Widow support group

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