Are you a
Which accepts only perfection gets too rarely satisfaction.
Do people tend to call you a perfectionist? Maybe you have a colleague or a boss that you see as a perfectionist? Or perhaps you live with a perfectionist.
But what is perfectionism? It looks like this: everything must be done perfectly; it’s setting very high goals for ourselves, perhaps unattainable ones; it’s being hard on oneself or others; it’s a constant feeling of dissatisfaction. Taken to the extreme, perfectionism can cause a lot of stress.
Some time ago I was having lunch with a friend who told me about her perfectionist father and the impact it had and continues to have on her. Another time one of my clients complained about his perfectionist boss and how this made his work difficult and undermined his confidence. Being a bit of a perfectionist myself, it made me think.
Continued success and perfectionism?
Sometimes we can confuse perfectionism with continued success and quality work. Perfectionism is not a bad thing when it leads us to produce quality work, to properly analyze situations and do things right. Where it can become a problem is when one constantly postpones for fear of being wrong, when one demands perfection of themselves at all times, in all spheres, or worse, when one imposes on others their perfection criteria.
Perfectionism is part of certain temperaments; it’s a way of thinking, often unconsciously, that sometimes brings us to correct and criticize others or to criticize ourself. Quite the opposite of what contributes to confidence and self-esteem for ourselves, our colleagues and our employees.
Imagine this: you are explaining something and the listener constantly corrects your language, what you say or your choice of words. You deliver a report and your boss makes you start over. You set the table for a social dinner and your spouse / partner replaces the utensils and glasses to the “right” place. You bring a small gift to your mother and it’s not the right gift, the right size or the right color. So how should you respond to these criticisms, which incidentally are not intentioned as criticism but simply a reflection of someone who wants to do things perfectly. To us who receive the information, it sounds like a critique. So what to do?
Sometimes we tend to minimize comments from a perfectionist thinking they did not want to hurt us; or thinking they might be right and we should be more careful and change the way we do things. Without realizing it, this attitude can be harmful and generate its share of stress. In the long run it affects our confidence.
Realism versus perfectionism
I wanted to discuss this topic to help us be more realistic than perfectionist, and aware of the comments we sometimes make to our colleagues or members of our team. Whether you are the leader who often corrects what the employee does or says, or whether you are the person receiving the criticism of a perfectionist, these tips can help.
TIP #1 – Become conscious of the discomfort felt after a criticism
When you say or receive a comment or critique like that, how are you feeling? Frustrated, angry, sad, less confident? Take time to identify and accept that feeling. Whatever the feeling, it is legitimate.
TIP #2 – Determine the impact that the comment or criticism has on you and communicate it to the person. Perhaps their criticism demotivates you because you put a lot of effort into your work; or is it you who made the criticism, and perhaps you regret those words when you see the surprised look and disappointment on their face.
If you are the person who made the comment or criticism and someone wants to communicate it to you, please try to stay open and receive this feedback as an attempt to improve the relationship. When someone chooses to express their feelings to a colleague, a boss or a close relative, that person shows courage and that they take the relationship seriously enough to risk talking about it.
TIP #3 – Change the music. Observe good moves, and instead of criticizing why not pay a compliment. Emphasize one thing that you appreciate in the other person. Mention something that the other person does well. For example: “I am happy you are part of my team. Or “I appreciate the way you evaluate situations, you have a good sense of logic.” This will result not only in reducing the overall stress of the relationship and strengthen it, but it will increase self-confidence in others. Is it not our ultimate wish that our team be confident and powerful, that harmony prevails and that the workplace is a place where we are happy to go?
Send me your comments! Have a fabulous week!