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Perfectionist and Conflicts – Both Go Hand in Hand

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Perfectionist and Conflicts – Both Go Hand in Hand

• Is a colleague of yours a grammar Nazi?
• Do you think he/she always aims to win in an argument or discussion?
• Does this person have difficulty delegating work to others?
• Is he/she always too quick to judge and evaluate others?
• Is this person’s behaviour turning the work area into a conflict zone?

If your answer to most of these questions was a ‘Yes’ someone you know might be experiencing a phenomenon called ‘control freak’. So exactly who is ‘control freak’ – a person who attempts to dictate how everything is done. They have a certain flair and fire, which makes their process smoother and more effective. They generally try various methodologies to find out the best possible route. Even the Industrial Revolution rose due to such dedicated individuals who were focused on the division of work, division of labor and assembly line. If it wasn’t for these so-called control freaks, the phone or laptop you are browsing on would have taken months and not some minutes to assemble.

These hyperactive people are also sometimes referred to as ‘perfectionists’ who will settle for nothing but the best. However, the downside – this may lead to some chaos in office and at times result in conflicts. On some occasions, consciously or unconsciously, they may also manipulate others by exploiting their weaknesses; this ensures they have the last say in the situation. And it does call for some serious conflict management, if not always, sometimes.

Due to their compulsive behavior, perfectionists correct people’s grammar, punctuation, manners, and etiquettes. But here even though their heart is in the right place, they may come off as aggressive and dominant.

While working on a pitch or a tight deadline, his presence can make submitting a proposal or making an excel sheet take longer than usual as there will always be something that will require revision and repair, always.

The concerns may multiply many folds once they are promoted. On the company front they are driven and enthusiastic enough to get the work done but on the employee front there is tyranny of tears and loathing. Their stress on perfection and lack of complete trust in others, makes it impossible for them to delegate tasks. And even when they do, they have critically high opinions and views on everything, leading them to criticize the work of others in a jiffy sometimes.

Many a times, the perfectionist among our teams is unaware of the impact he has on the people or on those who they interact with on a daily basis. If this elephant in the room is not attended to, you could very soon lead your team into a demotivated state of being and this has a direct impact on the organisation’s productivity.

How can a perfectionist deal with his own nature?

“Being right is highly overrated. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ~ Unknown

Being a perfectionist is not as bad always as it may sound. There are ways in which this behavior can be leveraged in a more productive and conducive manner. A few tweaks here and there, and life can be lot simpler for the person and the people around.

Here are some ways to liberate someone from the shackles of perfectionism. Help yourself or someone you know with these suggestions to improve their work lives and manage conflict better.

1.  Practice delegation

Being a perfectionist, the delegation of work may not come with great ease. After all, you feel extremely responsible for the work that is delivered under your name. As a team leader and someone with reasonable authority, it is also important that you take the initiative to train your subordinates. Begin by delegating a certain repetitive task, spend some time face to face in setting expectations about how you expect the work to be delivered. In this way, the subordinates also develop and hone their skills for the future. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties involved. Taking this leap of faith goes a long way.

2.  Taking ideas and finding other “Best Ways”

Given your nature as a perfectionist, it might be tempting to rely purely on your experience and give in to the most tried and tested options or solution to some classic work-related challenges. But it is also exactly these classic challenges that give you an opportunity to involve others in decision making.

Teamwork and such team-building exercises help boost the morale of employees and get the best result possible. Take the road less travelled, explore the options. Destination matters – there are many roads leading to the same point.

Remember that even the biggest pioneers in their respective industries failed and died a silent death – because they refused to accommodate, to change with times. This will give your team members an opportunity to contribute and feel ownership, rather than mechanically following instructions to deliver a said task.

3.  Develop a new hobby- Reading, writing, listening to music

It might seem difficult to imagine taking up a new hobby, but it is a known fact that diverting one’s interests into creative outlets helps channel that inner strength to something more productive. This is how Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and others created their legacies. Start investing in your very own masterpiece.

Explore your passion and peace of mind. This will help in re-inventing yourself. Also, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Maybe, get involved and learn a new skill or two. So, start the novel you always wanted to write, read new genres to get acquainted to new style and listen to various kinds of music to expand your existing horizons.

4.  Let someone else take charge

Take that unplanned route of taking someone else’s preference. Let your special someone plan the entire night. Eat-in a different restaurant, order a different cuisine, and watch a non-cult TV series. All should be the other one’s choice. Just rough it up for a while. This helps in re-wiring and restructuring of the brain and heart.

It may create some discomfort at first, but with due time and patience, things will turn around for a better future. This will help you in raising morale and compassion in the office. Empower yourself to enable others to sometimes take charge at your workplace.

5.  Take a vacation

For a perfectionist, taking a vacation means planning for time away from work, and that implies more planning on what work needs to be done while you are away, by who, by when…The thought of returning from a vacation to a long list of incomplete tasks daunts you.

If you look back, all these has never let you step away on a real break. Being away once in a while, and really away allows other team members to take responsibility of the work. If they know you are truly not available, they will go out of their way to complete what is expected of them. So, unwind a tedious workload with a vacation.

Soak the pleasure of life by soaking the beauty around. Go for a trek or scuba diving. These activities release oxytocin and endorphins, making one healthy and happy all at once. The release of these happy hormones results in the opening up of creative outlets.

We hope this helps you in managing the work-life conflicts in a productive manner.


If you constantly feel that there is a need for supervision over your team and work does not take shape without your intervention, Yellow Spark can help you develop systematic structures and processes to convert your organisation into a self-run enterprise….write to us at contact@yellowspark.in

Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.