The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism


Have you ever had a co-worker or friend who needed everything to be “just so?” Someone who wouldn’t quit until they’d done it all, and done it perfectly? Everyone loves to do a great job and bathe in the praise that comes along with it. But, when taken too far, an intrinsic fear of being “not good enough” can set in and unearth extreme perfectionism.

Perfectionists are all around us, but their traits often become most apparent in the workplace. Maybe it’s you; maybe it’s a co-worker, business owner or entrepreneur. Either way, these individuals have a need to achieve triumphs in life so high that their behaviour can often border on obsessive. And when work-related tasks, or even your own business, is at stake, perfectionism could very well become a detrimental trait.

Set Your Standards

Pro: Setting your standards high and continuously surpassing them means you’ll turn around great work and, hopefully, achieve great success in business.

Con: Working to the highest standards can be damaging to your self-worth. Imagine you exhausted your efforts to complete a task perfectly, and a co-worker or competitive business owner still managed to turn around better results. As a perfectionist, would you hate yourself? Where would you rank your self-worth?

Compromise: Work to reach a middle ground between good and great. Continuously aiming for the highest level of “perfect” can be a physically and mentally exhausting trait.

Take on Only What You Can Handle

Pro: The world of business is wrought with new challenges and obstacles. Taking on new tasks is a great way to embrace continuous learning and stay one step ahead of your competition.

Con: On the contrary, taking on too much and forcing yourself to complete each item to the utmost of standards can quickly lead to overwhelm or even burnout.

Compromise: It’s virtually impossible to tackle everything on your plate at a picture-perfect level. Spending too much time on minute details that only you will notice may not be the best use of your time, especially when your business is at stake.

Embrace Collaboration and Teamwork

Pro: Independence and perfectionism go hand-in-hand. These go-getters often perform best with minimal guidance or hand-holding.

Con: Perfectionists may blame others for holding them back. This extreme level of independence can be limiting, especially in the business world where mentorship is invaluable.

Compromise: If you’re a perfectionist, consider the possibility of being open to new ways of doing things. Not everyone will work to the same level as you, but there are still lessons to be learned from the techniques of others.

Perfectionism is one of those traits that’s nice to have in moderation. If any of the above cons take over, the trait’s value will quickly take a downward turn. The constant need to excel at impossible heights could even be counter-productive to your business’ efficiency and relationship-building. Be mindful of how you choose to spend your time and aim for a balanced approach between perfection and completion.


Michelle Novielli | Contributing Writer



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