It is normal to want to strive for perfection – especially in the senior care industry, where a mistake could affect real people and have a dire outcome. However, sometimes the focus on being (or at least appearing) flawless can prove to do more harm than good. This is true whether you just started working in healthcare recently or you have been running the department for the past fifteen years.

In this article, we will make the argument for why imperfection can actually be even better – for both you as well as your team.

Why perfectionism is harmful

By nature, striving for perfectionism can be quite self-destructive in the long run. Trying to chase something that is entirely unattainable can wreak havoc on your emotional health and your idea of self-worth. You might have trouble sleeping or start experiencing anxiety. In many cases, people can become almost obsessive over trying to achieve perfectionism, often experiencing shame and judgment. For example, you might spend so much time working on a report that you start to neglect your patients. As a result, you could feel as though you have failed on two counts.

If you are in a leadership position, of course, you want to set a good example for your employees and demonstrate how to do the job well. But again, you do not want to be so overly focused on one particular task that you start neglecting others (this could communicate that employees can do the same). Perhaps more importantly, you do not want to be so focused on setting a good example that you forget to provide feedback and support to your team.

Why you should embrace imperfection

As opposed to striving for your perception of perfection (since we have already established that it does not exist), you should work on embracing and strengthening your personal talents. Focus on your personal development, and just taking incremental steps forward. Remember that things do not happen overnight, and that experience takes time – as well as trial and error.

When your team sees you fail – but then get back up and try again – they will follow suit. This is the example that you want to be setting. By being open about your mistakes – as well as what you learned and how you grew from them – you will become much more relatable and approachable to your team. It shows that you are human.

With all this in mind, mistakes might not seem so bad all of a sudden. When the next one (inevitably) happens, think of it as a great opportunity.


Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash