May 14, 2019

The Perfectionism Paradigm and How To Shift It

Are you a Perfectionist? Do you work for a Perfectionist? If yes to either, I’m here to help you make a perfection paradigm shift.

Perfectionism is a difficult thing.  Working for a perfectionist boss can be a very challenging endeavor as you struggle to please them. They may embody challenging traits like frequent criticism or resistance to opposing ideas.

It can rob you of confidence because their standards are so high, you are more likely to fall short of their expectations.  A perfectionist boss may often be stingy with recognition and may micro-manage. You may crave acknowledgement for doing a great job where your boss may see it as just acceptable.

Now, I’m not suggesting that perfectionism is always bad, but when it robs you of job satisfaction, you need to explore the value and consequences of this need.

So where does the desire for perfection come from?

Often perfectionism stems from the fear of failing or not meeting expectations.  People who strive for perfection live with anxiety because true perfectionism is not attainable. It’s a double-edged sword.  Yes, they probably do a great job, but they tend to set inflexible and excessively high standards. To make matters even more complicated, they often are their own worst enemy because they believe their self-worth depends on how perfectly they perform.

If you are the perfectionist:

The shift can be made!  Pick and choose where you need to be perfect.  Recognize your team for their contributions even when they are not up to your idealist standards.  Accept excellence over perfectionism.  Check to see that your quest for things to be done your way doesn’t impact negatively on others or rob people of their own creativity. Give others permission to do their best based on their capabilities.  Productivity increases when people enjoy their working relationship with their boss, rather than feel they have to continuously achieve impossible standards.

Realize that performance and perfectionism are not related to each other.

If you work for a perfectionist:

The shift can be made!  Study your boss to determine what style of communication they prefer, what their values are around time and efficiency, and areas where they demand “perfection”. Micromanagers tend to be meticulous so plan for those areas which you know are not negotiable.  Choose the right moment to disagree or to offer another perspective for completing a task. Avoid direct criticism. Reinforce that you have their best interests in mind. Sell them on the benefits of your ideas to their personal success. Know your boundaries, and don’t personalize.

It’s okay to reinforce positive behavior in your boss.  When you notice that they are backing off, tell them how much you appreciate the hands-off approach.

In conclusion, there’s no magic pill for shifting away from perfectionism.  Follow these rules to create success in your life with minimal pressure.

. Set realistic goals: Identify success pillars that will define success, not perfection.

. Do reality checks: Ask your colleagues/boss how they perceive your effort and the quality of your work.

. Hold yourself up to standards that are achievable. Take your workload into consideration to know when excellence has been achieved.

. Focus on relationships. Choose to be someone people like working with. In this way, others will come to your rescue when you need help. And meaningful relationships never have to be perfect!!!!

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