Pfrt Lrdhsp: You Don’t Need to Be Perfect to Be a Great Leader

You don’t need to be perfect to be a great leader. You just need to be pfrt. Letting go of the pursuit of perfection in leadership is an art that many strive to master. Recently, during a meaningful and stressful meeting with an executive, Mirra, to discuss the announcement of a reorganization, she discovered the power of embracing imperfections in communication.

Mirra needed some context. I had Mirra look at this series of letters, which at first glance, most can decipher. I wrote down the letters “Pfrt Lrdhsp” and asked her what she saw. “Perfect Leadership,” she said. Pfrt Lrdhsp may look like a jumble of words at first glance, but our brains fill in what’s missing when the first and last letters are correct even when there are letters missing. This particular phenomenon is called “typoglycemia” that demonstrates the ability of the human brain to read words even if the letters inside them are scrambled, as long as the first and last letters remain in the correct position. Typoglycemia is a fascinating demonstration of the efficiency and flexibility of our brain’s language processing abilities. It showcases how our brains can adapt and make sense of information even when presented with unconventional or scrambled word patterns.

The first point Mirra and I discussed to start her journey of being a pfrt leader was to acknowledge her strengths and limitations. Her strength is that she could envision the future and she knew that it would succeed if it was executed well.  She was mentally clear about the future and confident and committed to the change. Her limitation was her ability to be as clear as she communicated as she was in her head. With the reorganization announcement, Mirra was most concerned with what people’s reactions would be, and that is completely normal to be curious in how people will respond. However, this was causing her to pause and delay the announcement, wanting to get the communication perfect. We talked about how acknowledging her limitations will allow her to access resources to help her move forward in the next step in the process, such as setting realistic expectations, practicing self-compassion, and to seek support and feedback.

We discussed what things were in her control and out of her control. She decided that the reactions people had to the reorganization was out of her control, but she committed to asking a trusted peer to review the message before she sent it out, and to allow for open communication and questions after the message was sent out. These were aspects about the message that were in her control. She committed to practice self compassion and to not let people’s negative responses impede her ability to communicate well. 

Mirra realized that she doesn’t need to be perfect to be a great leader, she only needed to be pfrt. Leadership isn’t about being flawless, it’s about inspiring and empowering others, fostering collaboration, and achieving collective goals. By letting go of the need to be perfect and embracing your imperfections, you can lead with authenticity, resilience, and compassion.

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