When does perfectionism start to weaken?

Strength or weakness?: Perfectionism at work: when the best is not good enough

Cologne / Kerpen (dpa / tmn) - One last check and then hand it in. Or is it better to check the entire document again? It can go on forever with perfectionists.

The boss only asked for a short list and receives a page-long presentation in which every detail has to fit 100 percent. The problem: The manager wonders why it takes so long - and the employee gets stressed because he has too little time.

Perfectionists should know their strengths

But perfectionism doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Here, too, the dose makes the poison: Anyone who works on a short list for days and creates a page-long presentation has a time problem and works inefficiently.

But: «You don't have to want to get rid of your perfectionism», emphasizes career coach Bernd Slaghuis, author of the book «Better working». He sees conscientiousness behind the phenomenon and a person to whom order and structure are important. “Those are actually strengths,” he says.

Fear of failure is the wrong motivator

A look at the causes of perfectionism can also be helpful, explains coach and author Jochen Mai from the “Karrierebibel” portal. Perfectionism is good when someone always gives their best and wants to deliver 100 percent good results. "It is bad when someone is perfectionist out of fear of mistakes or fear of criticism."

But how do you get a healthy dose of perfectionism? Of course there is no switch. "Like so much, perfectionism is a familiar behavior that has been developed over years or even decades through education or experience," explains Slaghuis. You can only change that if you consciously and consistently work on it.

It is helpful to make a decision in every stressful situation. Anyone who notices that there is little time to complete a task should consciously ask themselves: What am I doing here? Does every detail really have to be perfect or what are the consequences instead? "In the best case scenario, you learn that it is healthier to make the decision for an 80 percent result," says Slaghuis.

A high demand - also for the colleagues

It is often difficult for perfectionists in a team, because they usually have very high demands on everything. So your colleagues are also affected.

When it comes to dealing with one another, Slaghuis advises you to rethink: Instead of seeing your colleague who takes a long time and tumbles on everything forever, you should think about what you appreciate these colleagues for. For example, that he always makes sure that the team does a good job. "A team lives from a variety of strengths," emphasizes Slaghuis.

If you have a perfectionist on the team, you should ask the career advisor what stresses the person, offer support or explain that from experience it can also be the simple solution.

Openness already counts during the interview

Anyone who already knows about their own perfectionism could also be confronted with it in an interview. "One should mention weaknesses, clauses is nonsense," says Mai. It is an illusion to believe that HR managers fall for it.

A self-reflective and constructive approach is required. «You could say, for example:" I tend to be perfectionist, but have recognized why it is and I am working on it, "suggests Mai.

Bernd Slaghuis suggests formulating the wish early on that future superiors clarify what the result should look like. For example, whether a handwritten note is sufficient for the installation or whether a perfect presentation should be worked out.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201016-99-968786 / 4