Do you ever find yourself trying to do it all? Trying to do everything to such a high standard that there’s just not the hours in the day? As a consequence we can find ourselves feeling run down, dissatisfied with life, not feeling the joy and contentment in our work.   This is where personality tests can help.

Interestingly, within the coaching community we label these tools as personality profiling tools, as there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone is different, and from our research maybe our clients don’t agree as there definitely seems to be more use of the words “personality tests”.  

So what do we mean by personality tests profiling?

If you have experienced personality tests or profiling within the work place eg: Myers Briggs or Strengthscope, etc you will know that as teams we are all made up with a different skill set.  The need for detail, the preference for being planned and remaining flexible in unfamiliar situations are different facets of our personality type, for example.   As an executive coach, supporting my clients to understand their own personality preference and unique strengths, and how these can help and hinder them is crucial to their leadership success.

A client I recently worked with was feeling overworked and tired, and noticed work was taking over. He said he had lost his spark and natural zest for his work.  When we looked at his personality profile we noticed he had a preference for his life being very planned as well as being detail oriented. Whilst these were very helpful to him, in times of pressure he became overly obsessed with the need for order and structure and spent more hours than usual checking his reports and presentations. In his own words he said he was a perfectionist, always striving to make himself the very best and his work the same. The personality test profiling coaching session really helped him see how he sometimes got in his own way, and he was then able to appreciate how a more flexible approach could support his work performance and how letting go of the unnecessary checking of his work freed up time for him to make even better decisions and be more creative. 

Perfectionism can be a great trait, it can give us a driving force, set our standards very high therefore making us excel in our profession, it can help us hold others to account in setting performance targets. As with all traits, when they are dialled up too high though, it can cause a shadow.  

Do you notice yourself in any of these statements? 

  • You don’t submit a piece of work until you have reviewed it many times. You keep going back to add more, take more out, often spending longer than you expected.
  • Despite your commitment and effort to your work you still feel inadequate, like you could have done better. 
  • When others compliment you, you rebuff the compliment. 
  • Your day is filled with targets and things to achieve, often with a list of “to-dos” that are unrealistic to complete in the time you’ve set.
  • You notice yourself criticising others either to those around you or to the person.
  • You spot the flaws more than the good.
  • You berate yourself if you don’t achieve what you think you should have. 

A key step forward once you notice these tendencies is to become comfortable with the concept of being “good enough”. This can really help those with perfectionist tendencies. We can start to develop alternative ways of thinking and acting and this requires practice.

What are the benefits of embracing the concept of being “good enough”? 

There are many benefits to perhaps not always doing everything perfectly for example:

  • We get to make mistakes, and learn from them.
  • We develop resilience and problem solving skills.  
  • We develop a sense of kindness towards ourselves which enables us to be more joyful and happy.
  • We practice accepting the situations that we find ourselves in rather than wasting energy to make them perfect.
  • We notice the small things in life that bring contentment.
  • We connect with others at a deeper level.
  • We role model to others that it’s ok to make mistakes.
  • We actually become more productive as we spend less energy and time on the flaws. 

Working with an executive coach can really help to adjust your viewpoint to a kinder, more realistic perspective. Embracing imperfection both for you and those around you is a skill to practice. 

Some tips to help you manage being “good enough”

If you notice your perfectionist tendencies can get in the way sometimes here are some top tips:

  • Start noticing your response to situations or pieces of work that don’t go to plan.
  • Ask others for feedback – do they notice how your perfectionism helps or hinders you?
  • Find role models – are there people around you who you could learn from?
  • View setbacks and mistakes as an opportunity for you to adapt your style and approach – ask yourself what can I learn from this situation?
  • Practice positive self-talk – do you notice the voice in your head that can be overly critical? Start noticing it and then introduce some positive statements that support you not berate you.
  • Notice when you are on overdrive with a piece of work and take a break, have a walk, grab a coffee, chat with a colleague – then go back to the work and notice what perspective you now have.

I’d love to hear what you think and what your strategies are? 

We work with lots of different businesses to understand their team dynamics and help them to increase their performance through our Leadership and Development programmes. If you wish to understand your team better and the dynamics between them please get in touch for our no obligation initial consultation.

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