I read an article recently that said more than 35% of executives fail because of a tendency toward perfection. And, with all of our waking moments and achievements on seemingly constant public display, it’s easy to understand why this might happen. 

In our current culture — where every photo needs to be nothing short of Instagram-worthy and where the number of LinkedIn connections you have can be misconstrued as professional success — it can be easy for team leaders to push that want for perfection on their teams. But, at what cost? 

When we have super high expectations are we actually crushing our team morale? When the bar is set so high that actually achieving success is unattainable, are we doing more harm than good? 

What does this mean for us in the business world? How can team leaders keep themselves in check to ensure that their expectations are not crushing morale? That their unrealistic expectations don’t create a counterproductive work environment? 

Here are some quick, rapid-fire thoughts: 

#1. Don’t Assume Anything 

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that a co-worker, team member — or even family or friends — are on the same page regarding a project, deadline, situation, etc. 

It’s important to make expectations clear, but that people also have the opportunity to ask questions, give input, and their perspective. When you don’t assume — but, rather, have an open conversation — you make sure everyone is on the same page. 

#2. Seek Out Feedback 

All of your team members should be able to feel comfortable giving their feedback. Establish a chain by which feedback can be easily managed — to allow you to “hear through the grapevine” if expectations (or any issues) are hindering your team. 

#3. Remember There’s an Off Switch 

It’s easy in our always-on culture to respond to emails on Sundays and to stay after-hours to finish an important project. But, if you’re trying to keep morale high, remember that your team members need an “off switch”. 

Keep expectations realistic by creating a culture where your team can relax and unwind — and feel fresh when they roll back into the office. 

#4. Get a Mentor 

Whether this is your first gig managing people or you’ve been around the block a few times… GET. A. MENTOR. Having someone to bounce ideas with, that you can seek out for advice, that you can discuss problems with — that’s important no matter what your tenure as a manager. 

How will you keep yourself in check without having someone who can actually keep you in check? 

Of course, these are just a few of my rapid-fire ideas. What are some of the strategies you’ve used to make sure that you’re keeping your expectations in check, while still pushing your team members to be the best version of themselves? 

I’d love to hear some of your ideas! Let’s keep this conversation going on my LinkedIn page.