Want your team’s genius to flow? Ditch perfectionism.

As a society, we have created a perception of what it looks like to be a strong leader. She is perfectly poised, emotionless, and buttoned up. This is the face of perfectionism. If this is your leader, how does she make you feel day in and day out? What is the message she sends?

Well, for normal human beings she sends the message that the rest of us are inferior. This is because we expect that we should have it “all together” the ways she does. But no human who has emotions, desires, and challenges looks this way all the time. That’s ridiculous.

Normal human behavior is to feel a full range of emotions. Like, we lose a deal so we cry to release the pressure. Or, we say something stupid so feel embarrassed and seek counsel of a friend to talk it out. Or we receive criticism so we walk away, take a few deep breaths, and talk ourselves down with calming affirmations.

This is reality. We feel. We struggle. And we need to do things to recover. Yet, it seems we’ve made a collective agreement that perfect and perfectionism is the new normal.

What is the cost of this?

A person leading as if she is perfect can cause damage to herself and her team. She has lost connection with what it means to be human. And in her presence, others are harmed because they believe that they are not worthy or good enough to even be where they are unless they look perfect too. Creativity is stifled all around.

The Truth with a capital T (meaning spiritual truth) right now is this: Rather than this perfectionism, our workplaces right now need big doses of EMPATHY and COMPASSION and REALISM that it’s ok to make mistakes, feel difficult feelings, and struggle every so often. With freedom to be ourselves, our creative selves thrive. Then our genius and the genius of our teams can truly shine through.