Here's How To Manage Perfectionists

Spirit Level Carpenter Perfectionist Woodwork

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Do you have a perfectionist on your team?The good news is that your direct report has high standards and a fine attention for detail.

The bad news is that he fixates on every facet of a project and can’t set priorities.

Can you harness these positive qualities without indulging the bad?

Can you help him become less of a stickler? Yes and yes. Managing a perfectionist can be challenging but it’s not impossible. And when done well, you both will benefit.

What the Experts Say
Many people claim to be perfectionists because they think it makes them look good. But true perfectionism is a flaw more than an asset. “Everybody is a perfectionist to some degree.

It’s when it becomes an obsession that it’s a problem,” says Robert Steven Kaplan, a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School and author of What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential.

In many cases, this compulsive behaviour can be the thorn in the side of a great performer. “I think they’re fabulous people and I think they’re out of control,” says, Thomas J. DeLong, the Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School and the author of Flying Without a Net.

Overseeing a purist requires patience and a unique approach to supervision. Below are several tactics to get the most from your fastidious team member.

“Keep reading ‘How To Manage A Perfectionist’ at Harvard Business Review →
This post originally appeared at Harvard Business Review.

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