7 Signs Your Perfectionism is Hindering Your Career

According to Merriam-Webster.com, “perfectionism is defined as viewing something that is anything other than perfect as unacceptable.” While is it acceptable and expected that federal employees meet and exceed expectations, the pursuit of perfectionism can often lead to a stranglehold on one’s ability to achieve basic work-related goals.

Let’s be honest, every day we go to work with our mental task list prepared to push out tasks and meet stakeholders in support of our organization’s mission. Yet, there are those days that we enter the office and become stuck in a quagmire of “what approach to take” that we simply stop moving forward on our goals.This is an example of “perfection creapage.”

Sometimes our focus on perfection becomes a hindrance. It happens to all of us at one time or another because there is someone else in the office trying to do the same thing we do better and faster. Or, we may strive for 100% perfection based on the simple fear of failure which influences every aspect of our decision-making capabilities. Consequently, we become unable to manage projects effectively.

This process is referred to as the “Perfectionist Principle”.

It is one thing to meet or exceed expectations on work tasks. In addition when a person’s individual pursuit of “great things” halts progress in its tracks, the “Perfectionist Principle” takes over and stops everyone from moving forward.


7 Warning Signs of the Perfectionist Principle:

  1. Continue to revise project goals without achieving milestones
  2. Failure to start any project plans
  3. Missed deadlines
  4. Lack of internal review
  5. Refuse to accept feedback from others
  6. High levels of stress among an otherwise cohesive team
  7. Low team morale because of the unrealistic pursuit of a %100 perfection rate on a base rate project plan

Tracey Batacan is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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