Guest Post by Kylie Warry
Are you a perfectionist, or do you know one?
In terms of the Communication Styles, the ‘Perfectionist’ style is the one who is most likely to struggle with this trait. If you live with, work with or love a perfectionist, you may be relating already. This is a trait that I have struggled with for many years so I feel very comfortable sharing here.
Let me refresh your memory, the Perfectionist Communicator is all about procedures, processes and perfection. They love detail and also want to be right. These Communicators will correct grammar, spelling mistakes or your facts in conversation.
This style loves compliance. By compliance we mean working to a system or order, not compliant. Particularly to your own system or order, however this style will work to someone else’s system or process if they agree with it, or if they see it as correct.
This communication style is all about getting things right, EXACTLY right. If you know someone with this style, they are more reserved and task focused. They are great at details, probably love stationary (known from personal experience) and are highly organised in many ways.
What can make a Perfectionist Communicator Difficult?
Their need for perfection is a real struggle, why? Because outside of very isolated incidences perfection just does not exist, especially if you are Human… So you will never reach the expectations of perfection. How relaxing. This Communicator can also get caught up in detail which can lead to procrastination as things cannot be finished until it is perfect. Which it will never be…
These guys are fearful of their work being criticised, how could they not be when perfection is their benchmark? However, beware of criticising their work as they put a lot of effort into it being right. It hurts them intensely if they are corrected, especially if it is not done gently.
If you are working with someone with this style they will love details. If you challenge their facts you will need to provide statistical backup because they do know their stuff. I know one Perfectionist Communicator who reads the Australian Taxation website for fun (I have a headache just thinking about that). They prefer a quiet and consistent work environment where any changes are explained, where they can be some type of technical or information expert.
So perfectionism is a big deal to these guys. REALLY. I know this because this is my second strongest trait and in testing I scored 87%. This has long been held as a negative trait however; it can depend on your definition. In the negative it can stifle progress because you are expecting something unrealistic. It can cause paralysis and anxiety beyond description. It can mess with expectations both in their workplace and at home.
So how can we view this positively?
The Greek definition is “a continual journey toward maturity.” Now this is not how I have used it, or how I would describe myself when I am perplexed because something won’t look or fit the way I want it too. However, I would be a better human if this were my definition.
So, to anyone else out there who is brave enough to say that you have struggled with perfectionism either in yourself or expecting it from other’s, let’s change how we see it. We can all benefit from this definition of a continual journey toward maturity – I say bring it on!
If you are struggling for outcomes with one of these communicators here are some tips:
To help them deal with perfection, the key is gentle support as they do not respond to harsh, blunt or pushy communication. They work really well with big picture thinkers so that their detailed mind can compensate well with the big vision. Support to keep their expectations realistic is always helpful, as well as encouragement and praise for their strengths as they may get stuck on what is not working.
The most important thing for these guys is to be supported, for their expertise to be noted and acknowledged to have a diplomatic and reserved response. They are not touchy-feely like the Playful and Patient Communicator. So keep it more businesslike.
We are often asking client’s to share with us when they are experiencing incredible levels of vulnerability, therefore learning how to augment our own communication styles can be one simple way that we can foster more engaged relationships with client’s, where we can empower them to make the changes needed to assist them to take back control of their lives.
What is one simple thing you have learned from this blog post that will help you in managing a Perfectionist?
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