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The pitfalls of perfectionism

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 | By Taskmaster

Would you describe yourself as a perfectionist?


Do you lay awake at night wondering about things going wrong?


And by things going wrong, I don’t mean piddly insignificant things like lawsuits, OH&S hazards, attracting customers, cashflow, regulatory compliance, regulatory compliance or taxes.


No, I mean the really important things. For example, was the milk left facing the right direction in the office refrigerator as you went home from work this evening?


Do you spend your days in the office in fear that the professionals you hired to their jobs might chose to go about their job in a slightly different manner to you? Does this compel you to run around the office regularly intervening in your employees’ tasks?


Do you demand precision when generality will do, freeze out your staff or answer them in an angry, sarcastic manner? Or, worse still, find yourself taking on all the jobs in the workplace yourself in the fear that, if given a choice, an employee might choose a slightly different hue of blue to you?


Well, Old Taskmaster says this: Take a step back. And I mean now.


Sure, perfection is what we should all aim for in life. But there’s a difference between being a perfectionist and being an insecure micromanaging fool.


In the grand scheme of things, in life and work, there are things that truly matter and are worth getting absolutely perfect. Then there’s the Captain who ensures the paintings are level after the ship strikes an iceberg.


By micromanaging and obsessing over insignificant details, rather than delegating while overseeing the big strategic picture, you might just be alienating your staff and customers while sending yourself to an untimely grave.


Now sure, quality control and standards are important. But this should be a character of the staff you hire. And there is a difference between a task which objectively must be performed in a given manner for legal or business reasons and a task that is subject to a creative choice.


So is there a chance you could be micromanaging your start-up to death? If so, take a step back before you kill your business.


Get it done – today!