Lindsay White

Perfect Isn’t What Your Team Wants

Truth bomb. Your team doesn’t expect or want perfection from you as a leader. What they do want is for you to be a human being (just like them) they can relate to. 

Think about someone you know who always looks perfect, acts like they could never make a mistake, or has a home that is absolutely pristine, not a speck of dust in sight. Do you feel comfortable around that person or in that home? I sure don’t!  It  always feel like I’m going to make a mess, or a misstep, at any moment!  I can’t wait to get away! 

The Myth Of The Perfect Leader

At some point in the business world, a myth arose that in order to be a great leader, you had to be perfect. You can’t be perfect. No one can. It’s just not possible.

I’ve heard perfection called the ‘highest form of self abuse’. The drive to be perfect is incredibly taxing, destroying your own self worth, and damaging every relationship around you, both in your professional and personal lives. Here’s a perfect example: 

‘Take Susan. She was on a steady growth path, with her responsibilities expanding every few years. Her education was augmented by the school of hard knocks: She had been demoted by a new leader following a reorganization, despite her expertise. This made her strive to be more perfect instead of inquiring about and developing the additional skills she needed to work on. She had a high turnover among her staff because she was demanding. She expected a lot of herself, worked long hours and felt exhausted. The harder she was on her staff, the less they tried and the more she worked. That’s the price of perfection. ~ Forbes, Overcoming The Leadership Perfection Problem

What Your Team REALLY Wants From Their Leader

Believe it or not, the people you lead are looking for someone who isn’t perfect. Certainly, they want to work with, and for, someone who is striving for excellence, has a vision of how things can improve, and is always moving forward.  But they know,  NO ONE IS PERFECT.  I often see people in leadership roles who believe they can never get anything wrong. I think what they expect of themselves is to be some kind of superhuman being. Trust me, your team isn’t expecting Superwoman (or man), cape and all, to show up in the corner office anytime soon.

In the business world (and likely in other parts of your life), people are looking for you to inspire them, coach them and mentor them. They want you to be their leader, but they also long to connect with someone they feel comfortable with and can approach. Your team wants a leader who they respect and trust — not someone they are nervous around or afraid of. 

This is what you as a leader must aspire to. I heard this saying a while ago — The most human company wins — that applies here also. The most human leader wins.

What’s Your Leadership Style?

So go out and be your real self, instead of some paragon of virtue!  Be authentic. You don’t have to be besties with your team, but get to know them. Who are they as human beings? Try it — your team will respond to you in a completely different way and that will have an enormous impact on your culture, your business and your results. 

Need help to figure out what your own leadership brand and style need to look like?  Check out my VIP Leadership program.  It’s designed specifically to help you show up authentically, and bring your own values and purpose to your leadership.  Combined with some very practical leadership advice and tools, this six months program will set you up to become the great leader you want to be.