Perfectionism – Friend or Foe?

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What is perfectionism and how does it affect you?

In psychology, perfectionism is defined as a personality trait characterized by the belief that perfection should be pursued and the tendency to set excessively high standards for oneself and others. Perfectionism can manifest in both positive and negative ways. On one hand, it can motivate individuals to strive for excellence and achieve success. On the other hand, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and self-criticism when these high standards are not met.

The Big Five personality model is a widely accepted framework for understanding personality. The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ characterizes an individual’s traits by five main dimensions:

  1. Openness to experience (O) – refers to the degree to which a person is open to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives
  2. Conscientiousness (C) – refers to the degree to which a person is responsible, organized, and goal-oriented
  3. Extraversion (E) – refers to the degree to which a person is outgoing, sociable, and assertive
  4. Agreeableness (A) – refers to the degree to which a person is cooperative, compassionate, and sensitive to the needs of others
  5. Neuroticism (N) – refers to the tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety and emotional instability

You can easily remember these traits using the acronym “OCEAN”. In the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ profiling, perfectionism is a subfeature of “Conscientiousness” (C) C1.

A perfectionist often focuses on the pursuit of efficiency, but this can also make it difficult for them to start a new project if they know they can’t fully focus on it. The risk is to produce something second-rate and what value would that have? A perfectionist may think: “Maybe it’s better not to do anything, since I can’t invest 100% in it.”

Perfectionism – friend or foe?

In the workplace, perfectionism can be a double-edged sword, driving progress and achievement, but also hindering growth and development. It’s important to find a balance and use it in a healthy way. At home, it can also make it difficult for a perfectionist to relax and enjoy leisure activities when there are tasks to be completed.

It is important to set realistic goals and remember that being human means making mistakes. It is also important for our mental and physical health to not feel overwhelmed by the need for everything to be perfect. By understanding and managing perfectionism, individuals can harness its positive aspects while avoiding its negative effects.

To learn more about The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™, click here.

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