Achieving Perfection

Perfectionism gone too far

team conflictAnn, a former client, called me for urgent coaching. She was in tears, angry and hurt, recently written up by her boss for creating a tense atmosphere at work. She was asked to change her behaviors and she didn’t know what to do.

Ann took over a branch office in disarray over six months ago when her predecessor walked out. The results were poor, metrics were down, customer satisfaction is low and the staff did their own thing, they were not working as a team.

Being a results-oriented high achiever, with high standards and passion for what she does, she urgently and dedicatedly worked to get the office and the people back in shape. She was not aware of her perfection tendencies.  She worked long hours training her staff on the proper procedures, pushed hard to move their numbers back up and created new policies to meet compliance requirements. In her effort to urgently meet their productivity numbers, she pointed out things throughout the day that could be done better, highlighted time wasters, all in her desire to be efficient. She told the staff that they are there to do a their job and need to get the work done.  She wanted the day to be perfect and her customers satisfied.

After a couple of months, tension started to build up in the office.  The staff resisted her training and resented her corrections.  Eventually, HR was called to intervene. The staff complained that they lost the confidence to do their jobs; they were making mistakes and couldn’t possibly live up to her expectations. They said that the office atmosphere became tense when she was in the office.  They said her tone was condescending.

HR and her boss wrote her up.  They said she needed to change her approach.

Ann is in a dilemma, she knows that the results of her branch are poor, she has high standards but is puzzled on why her staff is resisting her training?  She is hurt, angry and extremely frustrated about the situation.  She is also fearful of the consequences if things do not change.  Her intention did not have her desired impact.

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