How to work with a perfectionist

How to work with a perfectionist

Working with a perfectionist can be very frustrating and requires an infinite amount of patience, especially if we are at the opposite end of the spectrum and love to work in what we might call “creative disorder”.

So what steps can we take if we find ourself in this situation? Here are three tips to make working with a perfectionist easier:

  1. Be assertive in stating how you see things: If you see that the perfectionist is spending too much time on small details that could adversely affect meeting a deadline, it’s your responsibility to point this out and help the person understand that paying so much attention to minute details doesn’t serve a purpose; help them to see the bigger picture
  2. Be “deceptive” about deadline dates: Perfectionists often miss deadlines as they’re busy making last minute, endless changes to their work. Normally I wouldn’t advocate lying, but here, by saying that something has to be finished say three days before it actually has to, you are doing the person a favour and destressing the situation for yourself if you’re also involved in the project.
  3. Don’t take it personally: Being a perfectionist is a problem because perfection doesn’t exist, so recognise that you don’t have the problem, they do. And at the end of the day we must remember we can’t change people, they have to change themselves. We can however, CHANGE HOW WE RESPOND TO PEOPLE. If you accept their perfectionism whilst making tweaks to how you work together, your resistance disappears and so does the perception that you have a problem.

At the end of the day, communication and trying to understand each other is the way to improved working relationships. If you follow these three tips and make a concerted effort to communicate with each other about how you can better work together, your working environment is bound to improve.

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