Your Perfectionism Might Be Lying To You

My name is Jase Kaser, and I’m a perfectionist.

Perfectionism gets a bad rap, but it’s a trait I really value in myself and others. For starters, I think my pursuit of perfection benefits Kaser’s customers – they’ve come to expect great quality, and all of our processes are designed to ensure that they receive it.

My perfectionism can become a problem when I’m trying to train new hires, however. Mistakes are hard for me to accept, even when I know they’re a normal, natural part of the learning process. The more I hire, the more I train; and the more I train, the more I have to confront my own expectations of my trainees.

If you’re a manager whose perfectionist tendencies make it difficult to delegate tasks, here’s my advice: focus on your trainee’s process, not their product.

It took me a long time to get here, but this shift in mindset has changed my outlook on training. An imperfect product used to frustrate me right away. I believed that no one else cared as much about their work as I did. I isolated myself by holding on to tasks that I thought no one else could do. I took other people’s mistakes as proof that they didn’t try hard enough. But none of that was true, and those beliefs stood in the way of progress.

Now, I take the time to investigate the process, and what I find is often very encouraging.

It is possible for a trainee to take good notes, follow in your footsteps, make logical choices, and still not achieve a perfect result. And that’s ok. They’re not ignoring you or being careless – in fact, I’ve found that most people are eager to do good work. If they’re coming up short in the end, it’s likely due to a misunderstanding. Occasionally, it’s because I need to revise my process. Either way, if I take the time to walk through their choices with them, we both learn something.

The growth of my business is requiring me to give up some control. I have to get comfortable with delegation and errors. Rather than viewing those errors as a sort of moral failing, I have to investigate them the way I would an equipment malfunction.

Perfectionism is fundamentally good, but left unchecked, it will impede your ability to train. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that tells you your employees are careless. Instead, believe the best, inquire into their process, and make adjustments accordingly.



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