Knowing when an effort is “great enough” is the secret to balancing obsessive perfectionism with a more lackadaisical attitude. There is a difference between conscientiousness and perfectionism, and the latter can have serious unintended negative consequences.
A study by Professor Simon Sherry of Dalhousie University is featured in Science Daily and describes why perfectionism, often considered a positive trait, can actually be a significant problem. A large sample of over 1,200 psychology professors showed that perfectionism reduced research productivity in terms of published works, citation frequency, and the impact ratings of publishing journals.
While conscientiousness can be described as self-discipline and goal orientation with a focus on results, perfectionism tends to be rigid and relentless with unrealistic goals. Therefore, rather than providing satisfaction and achievement, perfectionism can lead to frustration and inefficiency.
Brad Tuttle of Time Magazine gives examples of when imperfection is good enough. He cites Robert C. Pozen of the Harvard Business School, who uses memo writing as an example. Pozen states that it is better to write a memo quickly and then revise it, than to painstakingly correct each sentence as you go. Time should be spent where it matters most, not on perfecting jobs to the point where they are never finished.
Pozen also suggests that companies should change their focus from face time or hours worked to accountability for results. Staff members who are given the flexibility to get a job done under their own terms, often become more productive and responsible. For example, giving staff the opportunity to work remotely can increase their enthusiasm and commitment.
Workaholism is another trait often used as a badge of pride. However, overworking is likely to cause illness and exhaustion rather than boost an individual’s professional career. Tuttle cites a study from New Zealand that shows that people who over-work are likely to abuse alcohol or other substances and suffer from heart disease. Moreover, the same study found that middle-aged people who have chronically over-worked are at risk of dementia.
Change the culture in your organization. Stop the need for perfectionism and watch your productivity soar.
PrideStaff Las Vegas understands your need for conscientious and flexible staff. If you’re looking to hire this summer, contact our team of experienced recruiters for additional support.