wikiHow to Work for a Perfectionist Boss

A perfectionist boss may have unreasonably high expectations of employees, and may react in an extreme way when those expectations are not met. Perfectionist bosses may also embody other challenging characteristics, such as a tendency to micromanage, the inability to reach a firm decision, a resistance to conflicting viewpoints and a negative or critical style of communicating. Therefore, working for this type of difficult boss can be a challenge. There are ways to ease the strain caused by the perfectionism of a boss. Follow these guidelines for how to work for a perfectionist boss.


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    Counter unrealistic requests with a more realistic trade-off. When a perfectionist boss makes demands of you that you know are impossible to accomplish, assert yourself without sounding argumentative or disrespectful. For example, when your boss doubles your workload without extending your time frame, you could say something like, "I can complete the extra work, but I will have to delegate the other job to someone else if you want both jobs completed at the same time."
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    Arrive on time, all the time. Whether it be the start of the day, a return from lunch or break, a meeting or a business party, make it a point to be on time or early.
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    Exhibit enthusiasm on the job. A demanding boss is likely a motivated, high energy type individual. Therefore, asserting yourself as an enthusiastic go-getter can help you stand out amongst your coworkers and gain favor in your boss's eyes.
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    Request deadlines from a perfectionist boss. Perfectionism often causes procrastination, as a fear of making mistakes can freeze the decision-making process. Asking your boss for specific deadlines not only brings an awareness of time constraints to your boss, but also provides you with a more concrete definition of your assigned responsibilities so that you can avoid disagreements down the line.
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    Pay attention to the details. Perfectionists can get stuck on analyzing of all the small parts that make up the whole, and this can slow your productivity. Consider every aspect of a project and think ahead to identify every detail that might need extra attention. That way, you can head off issues before your perfectionist boss notices them.
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    Document your work performance. Keep attendance records, client referrals, positive reviews, customer recommendations and any other proof of your value as an employee. In the case that a demanding boss unjustifiably questions your dedication or aptitude, you can defend your position with tangible evidence of your hard work.
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    Provide your boss with reassurance. A perfectionist or demanding boss likely suffers from insecurity. Verbally acknowledging your boss's strengths can work for you, in that increasing your boss's self-esteem may also help your boss learn to be more accepting of others.
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    Appreciate the positive aspects of working for a perfectionist boss. You may have to work harder and be more conscientious to work for a boss who aims for perfection, but you can also learn a lot about self-discipline, reliability, maintaining high standards and paying attention to detail.

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Categories: Interacting with Bosses