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The other side of perfectionism in the workplace


Perfectionism is often considered a positive trait in our society. We often hear phrases like "strive for excellence" and "nothing but the best". However, excessive perfectionism can have a negative impact on professional success. In this article, we will explore the impact of perfectionism on work productivity.

Firstly, it is essential to understand what perfectionism is. Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by the need to achieve perfection and set exceptionally high standards. Individuals with this trait tend to be overly self-critical and often fear failure. Perfectionism may require more time to complete tasks, as it is associated with the need to perfect every detail, which can have a negative impact on productivity and performance efficiency.

Moreover, perfectionism is also associated with procrastination. When an individual with a perfectionist mindset feels overwhelmed by a task, or feels that he/she cannot achieve high performance standards, the tendency is to delay the start of that task. This avoidant behavior can result in missed deadlines, feelings of guilt, anxiety, and frustration, and a decrease in overall work productivity.


It is also important to note that perfectionism can be a potential risk factor for the development of burnout. Individuals who exhibit this trait feel a greater need to work longer and harder in an attempt to meet the excessive and unrealistic standards they have set for themselves. As a result, there is a risk of exhaustion or burnout, which can lead to a decrease in work productivity over time.

Perfectionism may also be associated with difficulty working in a team. Individuals with this type of mindset may have difficulty delegating tasks, feeling the need to control every detail. Consequently, this can decrease overall work productivity, limiting the ability of other team members to take initiative and complete tasks independently.

Finally, perfectionism is accompanied by a pronounced fear of failure. Perfectionists tend to be afraid of taking risks or trying new things, as they fear not meeting their high standards and ultimately risking failure. This fear tends to limit creativity and innovation and can consequently harm work productivity.


In conclusion, although perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, it can have a negative impact on work productivity. Perfectionists may take longer to complete tasks, procrastinate, develop burnout, have difficulty working in a team, and experience a fear of failure. It is essential to recognize the signs of excessive perfectionism and learn to manage this trait to ensure optimal functioning, not only in the workplace but in other important areas of life, promoting mental health and well-being. This learning may include setting realistic goals, delegating tasks, asking for help, and learning to accept the imperfection inherent in the human condition. By developing these tools, individuals can become more efficient and productive in the workplace, without giving up on striving for excellence, but in a healthy way.

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