I’m Perfect – Now What?

November 23, 2011 by Bill Bradley


Title: Perfectionism – curse or blessing?

Competency: coaching, performance management

Who benefits: all levels of management

Consultant Usage: highly recommended for professional coaches

What’s it about? Last week I reviewed a new book: Clueless: Coaching People Who Just Don’t Get It.  One group of people who have a hard time “getting it” are perfectionists. 

So this week when I came across a recent article entitled “How to Give Feedback to a Perfectionist”, I thought this would be a natural follow-up.    

I love the opening paragraph of the article: “Having a perfectionist on your team can be an asset. Perfectionists are driven to succeed, work hard to avoid mistakes, and are always striving to improve. Yet it can be a challenge to manage someone who needs everything to be perfect.”

Author Jeff Szymanski goes on to offer 4 coaching tips in this short article:

-Be clear about your goals and expectations for their work.
-Encourage a perfectionist to share a work-in-progress with you.
-Perfectionists can be obsessed with not wanting to make mistakes.
-Sometimes perfectionists get stuck because they use the same strategies over and over again, even when they stop working or aren’t working in a particular context.

Each of these four tips is explained in clear and concise writing with practical recommendations.  So if you have a perfectionist in the house … or in your house for that matter, be sure to read this short article.

If you would like to know more about perfectionists and perfectionism, the author also has a new book The Perfectionist’s Handbook: Take Risks, Invite Criticism, and Make the Most of Your Mistakes built around the following points:

-Distinguish between intention and strategy as a way of improving outcomes
-Identify diminishing returns and ways to redistribute your time and resources
-Make the most of mistakes rather than being preoccupied with trying to avoid them
-Learn to focus on your “Top 10” list as a way of getting the most out of your life
-Interact with others more effectively as a way of improving performance
-Establish more balance in your life

I would like to especially emphasize that if you or your organization is engaged in a 360 degree feedback system, you will likely have the responsibility of coaching one or more perfectionists in the process.  From my own experiences I know coaching perfectionists can be difficult.  The article and/or the book can help prepare you.

As I reread this review I realize it’s not perfect.  But it gets the job done and it’s on time. 

Catch you later.

[tags]perfectionists, perfectionism, coaching, executive coaching, 360 degree feedback, clueless, envisia, envisia learning, bill bradley, william bradley, bradley[/tags]

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Leadership Development

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