Why Perfectionism at Work Doesn't Pay


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Perfectionism is not the healthy or effective pursuit of excellence

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Why Perfectionism at Work Doesn't Pay

  1. 1. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013WHY PERFECTIONISM ATWORK DOESN’T PAYGladeana McMahon
  2. 2. Perfectionism is not thehealthy or effective pursuitof Excellence© Gladeana McMahon, 2013
  3. 3. Perfectionists tend to• Worry obsessively• Spend more time on activities• Exhibit aggressive behaviour• Place unrealistic demands on self &others© Gladeana McMahon, 2013
  4. 4. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Perfectionists tend to• Micro manage (control and fear)• Procrastinate (putting off tasks ortaking more time)• Avoid situations perceived asthreatening (new tasks or change)
  5. 5. In essencePerfectionists tend to• Set unrealistic standards unlikely tobe attained• Never be satisfied as can never attainthe desired outcome• Become stressed when faced withfailure and disappointment© Gladeana McMahon, 2013
  6. 6. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013In essencePerfectionists tend to• Be preoccupied with thoughts of fear offailure and disapproval• Link mistakes with a lack of self-worthand ability• Become defensive and emotional whenfaced with an error
  7. 7. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Impact onOrganizations• Managers can find perfectionists hardto manage• Colleagues can find perfectionistsdifficult to work with• Juniors can be at the mercy ofperfectionists
  8. 8. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Impact onOrganizations• Lack of creativity, especiallyimportant in challenging times• Loosing talent due to poor work-lifebalance• Risk aversion can hold back muchneeded change
  9. 9. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Fairplace and CassBusiness SchoolStudy 2007• 54 managers• Talent Tracker 360 tool
  10. 10. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Fairplace and CassBusiness SchoolStudy 2007Current• 1,852 respondents from 70organisations• 32% being senior managers andabove
  11. 11. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Fairplace and CassBusiness SchoolStudy 2007Successful leadership qualities• Open-minded• Courageous• Have personal impact• Empower others
  12. 12. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Fairplace and CassBusiness SchoolStudy 2007Successful leadership qualities• Build strong teams• Are adaptable• Ability to admit mistakes
  13. 13. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013The TechnicalSpecialist Challenge• Leaders whose earlier rise has beenbased on making the right decision• Retaining the elements needed to makegood decisions• The wisdom to know when good isenough
  14. 14. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Tools for IdentifyingPerfectionistsHogan Development Scale (HDS)• 11 common dysfunctional dispositions• Management Derailment• Alienating colleagues and direct reportsundermines the effectiveness
  15. 15. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Tools for IdentifyingPerfectionistsTalent Tracker 360• Used to capture development needs• Based on the Cass Study
  16. 16. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Tools for IdentifyingPerfectionistsOccupational Personality Questionnaire(OPQ)• Low controlling scores = others takecharge• High controlling scores = take the lead
  17. 17. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Is there anAlternative?The Healthy Achiever• Sets high standards that stretch theindividual• Enjoys the process as well as the endproduct
  18. 18. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Is there anAlternative?• Experiences concern about failure anddisapproval but learns and moves on• Treats mistakes as part of a life longlearning process• Sees Feedback as constructive
  19. 19. © Gladeana McMahon, 2013Becoming a HealthyAchiever• Use of psychometric tools to identifypersonal patterns of behaviour• Coaching focuses on thinking style andbehaviour (e.g. developing a selfenhancing thinking style)
  20. 20. Gladeana McMahonwww.gladeanamcmahon.comwww.cognitivebehaviouralcoachingworks.com© Gladeana McMahon, 2013