The Do-It-Yourself Syndrome

24 Sep

I always wanted to be a perfectionist. Some say that I already am but I never quite felt that I’m there yet. Take Aamir Khan (Bollywood actor), for example. Now him you can call a perfectionist…trying to perfect every shot he gives. Me? Not so much. I do like leaving my bed messy every once in a while (and I’m no Monica Geller when it comes to keeping my closet clean).

It was just today that a thought struck me. Our maid had ditched us without telling us yet again, leaving us high and dry with our messy house on the weekend. I was busy cleaning my room when I realized that I clean my room every weekend anyways! It’s just that despite our maid cleaning it every single morning, I still don’t find it up to my “clean” standards. I asked myself, is it the fact that I haven’t given her enough instructions around how I wanted it cleaned? Or is it that she’s just being sloppy lately? And it struck me – no matter how great a job she does (by the average standards followed by most maids in the world), I would still not be a 100% satisfied.

My mother often exclaimed (usually when Dad and I would complain loudly about the food) “Make it yourself the next time!” At that time Dad and I would just exchange another “here-she-goes-again” look and I wouldn’t give it much thought afterwards.

While dusting my not-really-that-dusty room today, I was reminded of Mum’s words. And I finally saw the merit in what she used to say.

Even in our professional worlds, we see some managers who often struggle with delegation. Maybe it is because they feel that they won’t get want they want (exactly how they want it) if someone else does it instead – which is fair enough. So organizations say, build processes around it – do reviews and multiple rounds of quality checks, until you are satisfied. (Let us not get into how the final product gets distorted with each person bringing their own version of what they think is right or that the end product can’t be one person’s baby anyways.)

Still, the point remains that such managers need to understand that, if nothing else, just in the interest of time can they not possibly do everything on their own. Such managers must make peace with the fact that despite the best of the instructions, best possible support during creation and the best of quality checks, the end product won’t be a 100% replica of what they had in mind and what they could’ve created. This is simply because they did not create it.

Now, the question remains… can perfectionists be good delegators? If the answer is a big ‘no’, then oh boy, I think I might just have a problem! I guess I shall ponder this thought while cleaning up the rest of my room…

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1 Comment

Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Corporate


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One response to “The Do-It-Yourself Syndrome

  1. Abhi

    September 27, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    Well written!!! connected the basics!!! Like!!!

    I would like to add:

    Wiki: Perfectionism, in psychology, is a belief that perfection can and should be attained.
    Self: what is perfection? a standard?
    “Standard”; does it not vary? – human psyche…
    so each one of us has our own level of ‘odacity’ to which we’d want to have ‘presentations’ as per our palette. therefore, if you delegate, its the ‘chief chef’ here who should ‘choose’ his team right…
    a failure of the ‘team’ here would be the ‘boss’, cause he CHOSE wrong!!!

    where i ‘comment’; is: maybe the team has a better ‘perspective’ than the ‘boss’ (after all, the younger ones experiment better!!!)

    Regards, AB


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