Every morning I wake up to a tidbit from Harvard Business Review in the form of their “Management Tip of the Day”. Typically, they’re interesting to think about, but nothing mind shattering. I thought today’s was particularly useful and thought I’d pass it along:
A perfectionist on your team is both a blessing and a curse. He may have high standards, but will likely fixate on every detail of a project. Here are three ways to harness the positive qualities while mitigating the bad:
- Give the right job. Don’t put a perfectionist in a role that is overly complex or requires managing people. Find positions that have a relatively narrow scope.
- Increase self-awareness. Help your direct report recognize when his standards have negative outcomes. Explain the impact on those around him.
- Don’t shy away from feedback. Perfectionists may have a hard time hearing criticism of their work. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Ask for the perfectionist’s advice on how to best give him feedback
As a recovering perfectionist, I think the last two are paramount. Perfectionism can be paralyzing because failure is always looming. I’m really thankful for those whose thoughtful, honest feedback helped me escape its grasp.