A high desire to be perfect
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  • 19 Jun 2014

At the recent ASTDA conference in Dallas Texas and with a jetlagged mind (that was already full of the wisdom of Sheryl Sandberg) I was privileged to listen to a panel of leadership experts: “One Minute Manager” author Ken Blanchard, Stephen M.R. Covey author of The Speed of Trust and HBR’s most influential leadership thinker in the world, Marshall Goldsmith.

A female peer asked them the question, “What tips do you have for women wanting to be on the executive?” Goldsmith was the first to answer and what he said kept me thinking as I lay awake at night struggling with the time difference. He reported that a recent study of over 3,000 people found that:

  1. On average women make better leaders than men
  2. On average, women have a higher desire than men to be perfect. Oh my god! Is he actually inside my head?

Marshall wrapped it up with a simple message. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t buy into the nonsense of having to be a role model. You can make mistakes. Make them and move on.”

Sitting next to my husband in the packed auditorium I felt his elbow nudge me, “Are you listening?” he asked. What he didn’t say but what I could I tell from the elbow nudge and smirk on his face was an unmistakable “I told you so!” But yes, absolutely I was listening. And I’ve kept listening ever since attending the conference and reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t think I’ll ever know it all or have it all. But just to learn that I am not alone and that a whole heap of women out there feel the same, well, that’s powerful.