Someone who continually strives for perfection and expects everyone around them to do the same can be a constant drain on patience, productivity and the sanity of those around them. Here are some tips for how to deal with perfectionists.
If you’ve ever had to work with a perfectionist, you know how frustrating an experience it can be. Someone who continually strives for perfection and expects everyone around them to do the same can be a constant drain on patience, productivity and the sanity of their peers, friends, family members and co-workers. Here are some tips for how to deal with a perfectionist in a way that will allow you to keep your head on straight while getting things done.
1) Recognize the Problem and Try to Understand
The first step to resolving any problem is understanding what is going on. You have to identify the problem before you do anything else.
Perfectionists didn’t just become that way. They were either created by parents who were never satisfied, or became that way due to some other traumatic experience in their life. It is a psychological issue that has to be resolved with a professional. In the meantime, now that you know that they have a problem, maybe you can find some sympathy for them as you continue to deal with them. Know that no, you are not crazy, there is definitely something seriously wrong with wanting to always be 100% perfect all of the time. It is impossible to achieve, which is why most perfectionists are tormented.
2) Be Firm and Decisive
Since a perfectionist may not be the most decisive person, it is your job to take on that role when dealing with them. For example, if you are working on a project at your place of employment with a known perfectionist, don’t play into their game. You may allow them a few times to go back and forth with their ideas and rounds of changes, but at some point (preferably sooner than later) you must be firm in your assertions and explain that while we all would love to have the project turn out 100% perfect, there is a deadline to meet, and there is always room for error. If necessary, things can be updated and taken note of for future projects. Then, take the reigns and say something like, “This is our final round of changes, do you see any last minute details you’d like to complete.”
3) Allow Them to Do Their Thing — Walk Away
If the perfectionist chooses to become unreasonable at your assertions to make a final decision and decides that they want to continue to wrangling over the same issue, let them do it on their own. You do not have to be held hostage by a perfectionist. Take a deep breath, do your part to the best of your ability and then leave the perfectionist to his or her task. They may end up working on the same thing until two or three in the morning, but that is not your problem. As long as you did your part to the fullest of your ability (and keep proof of that fact if you’re at work), you are not required to be a part of the perfectionists’ process. Don’t feel bad about it as long as you’ve done your part. If you’re dealing with a perfectionist at work and the situation becomes a serious problem, or you feel that the perfectionist may try to harm your professional reputation, definitely express your concerns with your boss or project leader in advance.
By using this process and keeping a clear, level head, you can avoid conflicts with perfectionists and best manage the relationship so that it works for everyone involved.
Posted by Jade
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