10 Ways to Deal with Perfectionistic Roadblockers

A Leadership Freak reader asked, “How do you deal with others who expend energy stopping people from reaching their goals?” The context is perfectionism. Perfectionistic roadblockers may act intentionally or accidentally out of ignorance.

The paralysis of perfection is rampant.

Four types of perfectionistic roadblockers:

  1. Vision that’s so big it paralyzes.
  2. Nitpicking next steps because they aren’t big enough.
  3. Nothing but perfection will do. What about?
  4. Lack of commitment to organizational direction. They don’t want to go there in the first place.

Strategies for dealing with perfectionistic roadblockers:

  1. Listen to them! They may be right.
  2. Persistently say, “Complex problems have more than one solution.” This opens the door to choosing reasonable options and moving forward. There are no perfect solutions.
  3. Advocate for incomplete solutions that enable forward movement. An incomplete solution is better than no solution and no movement.
  4. Determine if is some movement is better than none; it usually is.
  5. Evaluate often. Ask, “Is the path we chose getting us there.” When you adopt incomplete solutions commit to evaluate them quickly.
  6. Ask if they have better options. Many love to complain that we AREN’T there but don’t make positive suggestions.
  7. Celebrate progress. Perfectionists love to point out that current progress isn’t enough. Celebrate anyway. Honor people who make positive contributions.
  8. One reader adds, “Learn to walk away and disassociate from people who drag the energy out of your vision, to interact with them brings you down to their level.
  9. Another reader added, “I Look for the key values these people hold (and I share). When delivering a partial solution I aim to demonstrate how this meets our values and moves them toward their vision.”
  10. ???

What types of perfectionistic roadblockers have you observed?

How do you deal with perfectionistic roadblocks?

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