Perfectionists: Beware!

She was preparing the tables in the restaurant I was in.  She has a tape measure, and was measuring the distance between one table and the other on all corners of each table.

Given that I am an “easy going” person, and not much of a perfectionist according to my performance style assessment, you can imagine how amazing such view was for me to observe.  All the respect.  Really.  But is this too much? not according to her.

I have worked with perfectionists and live with some with me at home.  They definitely demand respect.  I mean the amount of attention they give to their work is unbelievable.  However, is their more to this performance style that might make it a curse rather than a blessing?

We all know that perfectionists do a good job.  We like them for that.  So it might seem on the surface like a great thing to have a perfectionist employee.  However, let us look at this performance style a bit closer.

Perfectionists take too much time perfecting things when “good enough” would do.  So if you are working with a perfectionist, you will have to watch the deadline as for them it is a second priority.  Their top priority is perfecting.

Also, perfectionists do not take criticism well.  You do not want to ever criticize a perfectionist.  To give you an example, I was working with one of my perfectionist clients.  I needed her to see how she deals with herself as a perfectionist.  I asked her if she was perfect.  She said that she is not and no one is.  I asked her to mention one way in which she was not perfect.  She started telling me, and within a minute or two she started crying.  These people cannot live with the fact that they cannot be perfect.  And this is where in my opinion the biggest challenge with this personality is: they are too hard on themselves, do not take criticism well, and hide behind their “perfectionist” style to avoid dealing with the fact that they, as all human beings, have shortcomings.

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