April 4

BEST BOSS EVER! Newsletter April, ’24 🌸

( 728 words = 5.6-minute read)

March Newsletter Recap

# 1 – What is humility, and why does it matter? – the nucleus of great leadership – the glue to well-lead cultures!

# 2 – What are the signs of “arrogance”? – top of the list are poor relationships, low trust, poor communication…

# 3 – How do you cultivate humility? – seek feedback, be open to learning, and develop empathy for others.

This month, we’re tackling Perfectionism. It’s a trait that can be both a strength and a weakness for leaders. However, it can significantly impact your ability to connect with others when it takes a negative form. Your relationships may suffer. Even if you don’t explicitly express it, others may feel judged. 

Point # 1 – What is it?

Webster has a definition, but your personal definition is more important because perfectionism is subjective. When you attempt to accomplish things that motivate you and pursue those accomplishments with positive energy, it is probably because you have high standards of yourself. A perfectionistic standard, on the other hand, is unattainable—consider saying to yourself, “I can never make a mistake” or “I should never disappoint anyone.”

High standards elicit a positive emotional response. Perfectionists often resonate with the statement, “I am never good enough, ” meaning they chase unattainable goals.

Psychologists who work with perfectionists find they often feel worthless, chronically insecure, and frequently experience fear, sadness, or anger. They usually have “schemas” or core beliefs that enable their perfectionistic thinking and may have difficulty discerning what is realistic.

There are two types of perfectionism: inward (focused on yourself) and outward (focused on others). Inwardly focused perfectionists fear rejection the most, and outwardly focused perfectionists fear humiliation. You likely have both types of perfectionism, but one is usually more potent than the other.

Ask Yourself: “What kind of perfectionism do I have, and how strong is it?”


Point # 2 – Perfectionism is Both Good and Bad

High achievers strive for excellence and have high standards. However, when perfectionism creates too much pressure, it can do more harm than good. Today, we see an alarming increase in anxiety disorders and depression. Taylor Newendorp writes in his book The Perfectionism Workbook:

“Extreme perfectionistic beliefs can lead to what are literally life-threatening habits.”

When you’re in a ‘flow state’ or ‘in the zone’, you’re using your intelligence, creativity, perseverance, and ambition to accomplish your goals. You may be pushing yourself to achieve big things, but as long as you’re not overwhelmed and experiencing total physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion, you’re not falling into the negative side of perfectionism. Maintaining high standards is important without crossing the line into excessive chronic pressure.

The downside of perfectionism is that it drives you to try to accomplish things that are unattainable. If you are always pursuing rigid and unrealistic goals, it takes a toil. You may also be trying to motivate yourself based on fear. Think of a u-curve—high standards are helpful, but when they become too much, you experience the downside of perfectionism.

Ask Yourself: Is it possible to have high standards and experience too much perfectionism?

Point # 3 – What Can I Do About It?

Learning how to manage your perfectionism is the name of the game. You will not get rid of it, but you can learn to manage it well. I used to be so tightly wound that a boss once told me I was hard to work with because I was trying so hard not to make a mistake.

Because our personality and belief systems are closely related to our perfectionism, finding a good counselor or therapist who uses CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is strongly suggested. Mindfulness training is also helpful, and there is even mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy.

If you decide to start the process independently, I suggest getting the books listed in the next section. Start by learning if you are more inwardly or outwardly perfectionistic (Never Good Enough). Then, discover your strongest schemas/core beliefs. There are some useful schemas and some useful parts to even inaccurate schemas, so analyze why you believe those schemas to be true.

Once you have identified your schemas, you can adjust them to be more realistic and accurate. You can change your self-defeating beliefs! Change your beliefs and you start to change your behavior.

Ask Yourself: What would my life be like if my core beliefs/schemas worked for me all the time?


Would you like to help a perfectionistic leader? Give me their name so I can reach out to and support them? I will help them get feedback and create an improvement plan. Your referral will be anonymous.


Want to Go Deeper?

  1. The Perfectionism Handbook – Proven Strategies to End Procrastination, Accept Yourself, and Achieve Your Goals by Taylor Newendorp
  2. Never Good Enough – How to Use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Letting It Ruin Your Life by Monica Ramirez Basco
  3. The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism, According to Research – Harvard Business Review December 27, 2018

Please forward this newsletter to a friend or colleague. Thank you!

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