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Leadership: Perfection vs Momentum?


Regardless of what level they are at, many leaders doggedly seek perfection.  This obsession with perfection is driven by fear along with a distorted view of the leadership behaviors that matter most.

Perfection-seeking manifests itself in the form of decision avoidance, micro-managing direct reports, and focusing on the negative.  In addition, these leaders operate down in the weeds and want to oversee every detail of daily operations.  They rely on bureaucratic rules to control the environment and employees.

Ultimately, the desire for perfection is a major distraction.  It saps employees’ energy and causes inertia. Because perfectionist leaders disempower employees, engagement takes a nose dive and productivity is minimized.

There is nothing perfect about being a leader so by definition seeking perfection is a worthless endeavor.  Instead, the behaviors that matter most in a great leader are those that cause momentum for the organization. These behaviors include sponsoring a vision and positive change, coaching employees to grow into larger roles, and influencing your peers to achieve great things. Ideally, a leader inspires people to forge new territory and to work hard to achieve audacious goals.

So, take a look at your leadership focus and see if you spend more time dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” than you do pursuing the really important aspects of running an organization.  In essence, great leaders don’t focus on perfection; they focus on the risk taking required to create momentum.

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  • About The Author

    Kelly Ferguson

    Kelly has spent 25 years as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing leader, OD manager, senior OD consultant, program manager, leadership coach, process improvement facilitator, and strategic planner. In addition, she specializes in the development of visual management tools, systems and implementation. She has over 15 years in relationship-based sales (services and products) successfully closing and implementing large-scale projects at companies including Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks Coffee Co., Nordstrom, Standard Financial Group, Coinstar and REI. Kelly is known for her ability to combine solutions based on process, people, structure and systems. Her “OD approach” drives business results, employee engagement and ultimately a high-quality customer experience. As a leader, Kelly is recognized for her drive to grow companies from start-ups to large enterprises by focusing on top-line growth, the introduction of innovative products and services, sales and marketing, and ...Read Full
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