16 Signs You’re a Toxic Perfectionist
You’re a toxic perfectionist if:
- You’re stingy with gratitude.
- Giving compliments is like pulling teeth.
- No one’s work is good enough.
- Mistakes are proof you’re a loser.
- Pointing out errors is a sport.
- Celebrating success is for babies.
- You never admit mistakes.
- You don’t apologize.
- Weakness is something other people have.
- Avoiding mistakes describes your attitude.
- You always fall short of your expectations.
- If you can’t be perfect you don’t try.
- Everything is either/or for you.
- It’s not about progress. The only thing that matters is results.
- Blame is your first response, because you can’t bear the thought that YOU fell short.
- Everything has to be done your way.
Bonus: Evaluate perfectionism by using this assessment: Perfectionism Scale.
Why perfectionist leaders are toxic blood-suckers:
- You can’t try and learn. There is only try and succeed.
- You can’t learn from mistakes because you don’t make mistakes.
- You suck the joy out of making progress because progress is never good enough.
- You can’t affirm imperfect people and everyone is imperfect.
- You always see what’s wrong and minimize what’s right.
- You expect people to get it right the first time.
- You fix people and no one enjoys being fixed.
7 suggestions for perfectionist leaders:
- Celebrate learning, both yours and others. Put it on your calendar. 15 minutes to walk around asking people what they’re learning? (What are you learning walk-about.)
- Support someone else when they lead.
- Talk with your team about the difference between high standards and perfectionism.
- Start saying, “Let’s try it,” or, “Go for it.”
- To stay involved, say, “Come back and tell me what you learned.”
- Set an end of day progress-goal for projects that take more than a day. Celebrate progress.
- Learn from a high achieving leader who actually enjoys leading.
How might leaders navigate tensions between the pursuit of excellence and toxic perfectionism?