What is the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work?

Being a perfectionist at work hasta cierto punto, should not be negative, because being a bit of a perfectionist, we tend to seek to do our work in the best possible way, seeking efficiency. The problem arises when this perfectionism goes overboard and we start worrying about unimportant details that will make us use more time than necessary.

The relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work has been reflected in several aspects of this very important area for people’s lives, as it can be through the fear of failing in a work project, the constant self-criticism , comparisons with other colleagues and even have a greater propensity to develop burnout syndrome at work, among others.

In this article, we will talk about the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work. and what impact this would have on the lives of people who are overly perfectionist in their work.

Here’s how perfectionism and anxiety relate to work

There are recent studies that have considered excessive perfectionism, called dysfunctional perfectionism or clinical perfectionism, to be a transdiagnostic process. This personality variable is characterized by the need it creates in the person to have to constantly strive to achieve fairly high standards in terms of their performance and all the tasks they perform; which can lead to several problems at different levels (for example, health, family reconciliation, work, etc.).

in turn, it is common for a perfectionist to be overly critical of what they do, so he tends to care about all the nuances of any task he does, even though the consequences of focusing on all the details and having too high standards are negative. In addition, it is usually the very perfectionist people who impose these high demands on themselves and it is difficult for them to lower the bar, allowing themselves to lower the pace of work or not taking care of all the details with as much care.

Several surveys of highly perfectionist people have found a strong correlation between perfectionism and anxiety at work, as well as in other areas of their lives. Some of the anxiety-related disorders that have been shown to have the strongest correlation with dysfunctional perfectionism and anxiety include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD ), panic disorder and correlation with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has also been found.

As we will see later, having a very high degree of perfectionism, contrary to what it might seem, it will not make us the best in our workat least in the long term, because in the long term, it will cause us a high number of symptoms of anxiety, stress and even low self-realization, which could have serious repercussions in terms of mental health.

Therefore, it is more convenient for us to seek to be more efficient in our work than perfectionists, choosing to accomplish our tasks successfully, but within reasonable margins in terms of workload and attention to detail.

Effects of perfectionism at work

There are surveys on the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work that show that being excessively perfectionistic could lead to a series of negative consequences at work such as those we will explain below.

1. Fear that projects will not go as planned and difficulties in completing them

In the existing relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work, we can see that very perfectionist people tend to suffer from a series of anxiety-related symptoms due to fear that their plans will not turn out as they hopedone of the main reasons being the high bar they tend to aspire to.

In this sense, it is also common to experience certain difficulties in carrying out each work project because they always find a nuance to correct, so they are never completely satisfied with the final result, which could cause even more of anxiety. Consequently, they tend to work longer hours than necessary to complete tasks that could have been completed in less time.

It would be wiser to seek efficiency than perfection and to try to have all our tasks at 80% of our possibilities spending too much time on unimportant details when polishing and improving a task to 100% while neglecting the restso we need more time than necessary to wrap them all up.

2. Fear of not meeting self-imposed standards

The relationship between perfectionism and work anxiety could also be caused by the fear that overly perfectionistic people have of not achieving the remarkably high results that they usually demand of themselves in all matters relating to their work performance and also that of those around them.

It is common for people with dysfunctional perfectionism at work tend to be afraid of failureso sometimes every challenge presents itself as a possible opportunity to fail instead of a challenge to do it right and be satisfied with the effort expended.

It is also common that they have met the expectations of their co-workers and/or bosses for the work that these people should do but, being such perfectionists, they think they have not lived up to it.

3. Constant self-criticism

Constant self-criticism would be another of the characteristics that demonstrate the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work; and it’s that people who are very perfectionists always find flaws in everything they do, being very hard on themselves.

In many cases, this dynamic could cause these people to feel preoccupied with certain details of their work performance that did not go as they expected, so they will tend to feel frustrated instead of happy that they did a great job globally.

4. Comparisons and conflicts with colleagues

People who are very perfectionistic may also tend to compare themselves to their colleagues and focus especially on those who think they are doing better at their job, although this can be totally subjective, generating frustration and insecurities and fear. not to be good. enough at your job, which is included in the characteristics that demonstrate the relationship between perfectionism and job anxiety.

5. Low tolerance for uncertainty

Another of the most important aspects of perfectionist people that demonstrates the relationship between perfectionism and anxiety at work is the intolerance of uncertainty that generates in them the impossibility of predicting the results of their tasks and projects in their place. work, so they tend to experience some fears in the form of negative thoughts related to failure because those projects aren’t going to go well.

On the other hand, this low tolerance for uncertainty and negative thoughts about possible outcomes that will not happen as expected may be related to the need to control everything meet the high standards they demand of themselves in all their tasks, which generates a lot of anxiety.

6. Burnout Syndrome

Burnout syndrome or “burnt worker syndrome” is characterized by extreme physical and mental decay, and also for the fact of having a feeling of dissatisfaction with the own functions carried out at work; pudiendo haber also a feeling of depersonalization, which is characterized by a feeling of being estranged from the rest of the co-workers.

A very perfectionist person who always wants to achieve great results, having to try too hard, can end up reaching the limit and developing a syndrome professional burnout.

7. Behaving too rigidly

People who are more perfectionist than necessary tend to be very strict in their work position, so that they end up having too rigid a behavior, that they do not allow themselves to be flexible at all in the execution of their tasks. , that they leave no room for creativityalthough it can be very useful to improve or innovate in your projects and make your results more positive.

This very rigid behavior can cause them serious difficulties when something unexpected happens, such as a change of guidelines in the project in which their company is engaged, so it will be difficult for them to adapt to these changes and they could feel anxiety. From what we can see, rigid behavior is another of the characteristics that demonstrate the relationship between perfectionism and work anxiety.

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