Help Perfectionists Be Less Hard on Themselves


Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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Perfectionists don’t like to reveal their weaknesses, which makes them especially difficult to coach. What’s a mentor to do?

o Try to focus your coaching on affirmation, validation, encouragement, and support.

o Express value for the person, not their performance.

o And when the person falls short or believes they’ve failed, help them cultivate a sense of curiosity, inquiry, and risk taking about what went wrong, and offer approaches for moving forward.

o Give them permission to make mistakes by disclosing your own missteps.

o Show them how you learned and grew professionally from each one.

o And demonstrate that it’s OK not to know all the answers. It can be helpful to say, “I don’t know that, but let’s find out together.”

Adapted from “How to Mentor a Perfectionist,” by W. Brad Johnson and David G. Smith

To check out that HBR article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out an anthology, Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, by clicking here.

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