The Boss Needs Training – Being Perfect Backfired

How Being Perfect Backfired

stressed womanAnn was written up by her boss for a tense atmosphere at work.  Her staff complained to HR because of her criticism of their work.  They cannot live up to her standards. The center’s results were down, customer satisfaction was down, morale was down.

Six months ago, Ann inherited a problematic center and worked to get it back in shape.  She wanted to train her staff, pointed out their errors and corrected the way they have been doing their work.

Can you see the downward spiral that Ann was in? Ann’s been called a perfectionist in the past. We worked on similar issues. When the frustration got to be too much, she looked for another job and shortly, the pattern started again.

While the perfectionistic accusations were not a surprise to both of us, this recent turn of events caught her attention. She was angry, frustrated and very hurt. The write-up was a wake up call to her.  It made her want to change the way she worked with people. For the first time in her career, she was fearful that she was going to be fired.

We used Leadership Impact, a 360-leadership assessment by Human Synergistics and she quickly saw in her desire to get the numbers back up, she was losing the hearts and minds of her staff. Completely focused on the task with her perfectionist tendencies, she did not have a relationship with her staff that made them want to hear her training.  They viewed her corrections as reprimands. Her intention to improve the office numbers had a negative impact on the staff.

Her intention did not translate to the impact that she hoped to achieve. If she was in a bad mood, the staff picked this up, fear set in and the office was tense.

Most bosses have good intentions, but the behaviors we choose can either have a constructive, passive or aggressive impact. We go on automatic response caused by stress, pressure or our learned habits.   We do not give ourselves a choice of responses.  We have a choice: a choice to create a positive, constructive and lasting change.

What can Ann do? What choices does she have to correct this situation?  She knows she needs to change and after a long emotional weekend, she was ready for coaching.

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