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Effective Leadership Lessons to Learn From a Crisis

Striving for perfection is a great indicator that you are putting forth your best effort in anything you do. Only by aiming for perfection can you get the finest outcomes. However, having a need for perfection, on the other hand, might lead to dissatisfaction most of the time. Trying your hardest is one thing, but having a need for perfection is something that can seldom be satisfied. The drive to be perfect is not necessarily helpful or healthy. It may cause you to overwork yourself, resulting in mental stress. As a result, it is critical to let go of the need for perfection while still putting up your best effort as discussed on this episode of the Worklife with Adam Grant podcast by organizational psychologist, Adam Grant.

He begins by describing how the development of a perfectionist habit begins at a young age, nearly as soon as children are taught by their parents that anything less than flawless is unworthy of notice. However, this creates a habit they will continue to live with in the future, and as a result of which every minor element that does not match as intended will be noticed, leaving them dissatisfied despite their best efforts. He claims that there are some occupations where even a minor error can be fatal. He claims, however, that there is a significant distinction between valuing excellence and being a perfectionist. Having the need for perfection, he claims, is not the same as aiming for excellence, which is chasing the highest quality of work. He claims that the urge for perfection places a mental load on employees, forcing them to continuously re-examine whether or not what they have created is up to par. He suggests that while putting in your best efforts to build something that goes above and beyond what is expected of it, a perfectionist is nearly never happy with even the greatest product and will continue to identify flaws that need to be fixed. He claims that the most telling sign of a perfectionist is someone who is continually inspecting something in a project that needs to be fixed. He also claims that while perfectionism might help with job formulation, there is rarely a single correct answer in the workplace. The urge for perfection has a negative impact on your self-esteem according to him. It is also mentioned in the podcast episode at one point that perfectionists may acquire a desire to outperform themselves, which may have an impact on their professional relationships. As a result, the episode ends on a brief note that, while wanting to provide your best effort is important, being comfortable and confident that you gave your best effort and that the project is up to par may also help you feel confident.

Hence, leaving behind the need for perfection is only great for your confidence and self-esteem. While your need for perfection can be channeled productively, it nearly always has a negative impact on your self-esteem, productivity, and confidence. As a result, it is better to put out your best effort rather than obsessing over whether the job you have done is flawless or if anything needs to be reworked.

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