Set Boundaries When Collaborating with a Perfectionist

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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It can be exhausting to work with perfectionists. Their unrelenting standards can lead to unnecessary stress, conflict, and missed deadlines. So how do you collaborate productively with them?

o To start, don’t internalize their expectations. Perfectionists tend to equate time with quality, so when you think a project is good enough to be considered done, you’ll need to be thoughtful and diplomatic in explaining why.

o Talk about the benefits of spending time on other tasks instead of getting every detail right on this one. You should also set boundaries so that your colleague’s nitpicking doesn’t interfere with your progress.

o For example, if the person sends you a lot of emails, each with a different question or suggestion, you might decide to respond once per day, but that’s it. And finally, focus on building your working relationship.

Having a strong relationship will assuage your colleague’s anxiety, which is often the root cause of perfectionism.

Adapted from “How to Collaborate with a Perfectionist,” by Alice Boyes

Here’s a direct link to dozens of other Management Tips.



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