How acknowledgment, gratitude and letting go can help build a culture of appreciation, instead of perfectionism.

For many business owners, take a minute to recognize that it took time, energy, costs and likely tears, to start your business. After all of the effort to get the business up and running, it is likely that hiring was the next best step to maintain the momentum. The shift from an entrepreneur who will stop at nothing to get it right for your business, is now an employer, who has folks keeping the business running. As an employer, you encourage the people in your organization to perform to the best of their ability, right? At what point does striving for excellence become an unhealthy obsession with perfection?

Many of you have heard the phrase, “nobody is perfect.” The issue with perfectionism is that it requires people to hold themselves up to an unattainable standard that they must get right and avoid making mistakes or getting it wrong at all costs. This standard leads to additional challenges that create a toxic work environment.

Oftentimes, employees who get most of the credit for doing something right, is shown appreciation, and the employees who assisted or contributed are left out without meaningful acknowledgement. Many employers unknowingly point out the mistakes that employees make and/or discuss these issues about them, instead of discussing it with them directly. Employees who are not acknowledged and not separated from their mistakes, will continue to make mistakes as they compete for recognition. Employees who are constantly praised, fear being treated like those who are ignored and strive for continuous praise to feel validated. This behavior leads employees to feel an abundance of stress and pressure not related to their job duties, which eventually leads to more errors and high turn-over for the company.

In recognizing the original goals that you had for your company, which was likely to thrive and have productive employees, we invite you take these three steps to create a culture of appreciation and learning instead of perfectionism.

Step 1. Acknowledgment. Acknowledge that mistakes will happen. Separate the employee from their mistake and when offering feedback, acknowledge the things that went well before offering constructive criticism. Perfectionism is a taught habit based on the need to gain approval or validation for things done, rather than receiving acknowledgment for his or her value as a person. Acknowledgment is about recognizing the contribution of people for who they are, not just by what they are able to do for your business. An easy way to start acknowledging your staff is to have a conversation. Engage with the people who work for you. 

Step 2. Gratitude. We have learned that gratitude is one of the greatest antidotes for perfectionism. Perfection is really just a collection of judgments.  When you embody gratitude, that leaves no room for judgment.  Having gratitude for everything your people are and what they bring to the table allows them to become validated in a different way, not based on judgment. Gratitude can transform a business culture. It may be helpful to write down on a notepad or white board the following question each day, “What can I be or do today to create an environment of gratitude in the company?”

Step 3. Let Go. Empower your staff members to make choices about their work. Ask them, “What can I contribute to you, for you to get this done?” Let them know you are there for them and trust that they can do it. Don’t interfere and worry about details; let them do their work the way they do it. They are likely to do it differently than you, and you might not like the way it is done, but if you allow them to do it their way, you may be surprised to see that this way works efficiently from them. We all know everyone has a different way that they learn and perform tasks. If you push employees to think like you, agree with you and perform like you, it will not be sustainable.

If you embed these healthy habits for dealing with perfectionism in your business, you will allow changes to occur with ease and growth for the business and the people who work for that business.

*NOTE: Our theme for 2021 is “Building Workplace Culture,” and includes our resource, summarized and edited, from dRworks, a group of trainers, educators and organizers working to build strong progressive organizations and institutions. This culture includes: Culture of Appreciation, Realistic Timelines, Curiosity, Quality, Many Right Ways, More Than Two Alternatives, Power Sharing, Openness to Conflict, and Subjectivity.

By | 2021-02-23T21:43:04+00:00 February 23rd, 2021|Building workplace culture|0 Comments

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