“Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you’re the best”
~ Carly Simon
Are you a perfectionist? A Type A personality?
From the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia:
“Type A and Type B personality hypothesis describes two contrasting personality types. In this hypothesis, personalities that are more competitive, highly organized, ambitious, impatient, highly aware of time management and/or aggressive are labeled Type A, while more relaxed, less ‘neurotic’, ‘frantic’, ‘explainable’, personalities are labeled Type B.”
Are you the one on the team that goes above and beyond?
Many folks are just hard-wired to do more than the minimum, to go for perfection in their work. They can be disappointed in their colleagues and staff who don’t demonstrate the same motivations.
Type-A people aren’t going to change their behaviors. Nor are they going to change the behaviors of their “less motivated” colleagues.
“I Just Work Harder Than Everyone Else”
As we wrapped up our coaching session, my client noted that she works harder than everyone else on her team; and that many of them can’t seem to produce quality work.
My wife, Camille, often takes on the less-than-desirable, but required, projects and tasks that others on her team at work avoid. She’ll often tidy up behind me as I clean house. I’ve had to learn how to fold linens and towels the “right way.”
Both Camille and my client are hard-wired to achieve high standards in their work. Some might call them perfectionists. When the rest of us fall short of their expectations, or have a different sense of what excellence entails, they can be disappointed in our efforts.
Clear is Kind
Our Type A colleagues need to realize that our work product will most likely never measure up to their expectations.
They also need to be extremely clear in their expectations when they assign us tasks. They need to keep in mind Brene Brown’s aphorism that “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.”
My client expressed dismay that one of her staff didn’t have the skills to complete her assignments to her satisfaction. We talked about being really clear on the outcomes she expects from the assignment and communicate those expectations to her staff. She needs to make sure her staff understands her expectations.
When my sons were younger, I’d ask them to go and pick up their rooms. They’d run up the stairs and be back in 15 minutes or so. Now I knew the condition of their rooms required more than 15 minutes of effort. I’d go up to inspect and discover toys and clothes pushed under their beds or crammed in their closet.
Calling (OK, yelling) them upstairs, I pointed out the unacceptable aspects of their efforts. As you can imagine, this didn’t endear me to them, or them to me. They’d point how that I had asked them to clean up their rooms. I didn’t specify what that entailed. The room had been messy, now it wasn’t. What’s the problem?
That’s when I learned that I had to be clear about my expectations on what constituted a clean room. Once I made that clear, they understood and met my expectations — yeah, right. But at least we had a standard to be targeted.
“It’s Easier To Do It Myself”
For many Type A’s, it may seem easier to just do the work themselves. While this may make sense in terms of short-term timing, it contributes to the overwhelm that Type A’s find themselves in.
Over the long-term though, by training us lesser mortals to their expectations and standards, they’ll suffer less from feeling overwhelmed by all the issues on their plates.
Many Type A’s are in leadership roles. Part of their responsibility as leaders is to prepare their followers to take on more responsibilities. The followers need to be aware of their leaders’ expectations and standards.
So, are you a Type A or Type B? Are you a perfectionist? If so, can you be clear about your expectations and standards on assignments to others?
If you’re a Type B, can you ask the questions of Type A’s that clarify their expectations?
Whether you’re a Type A leader trying to get others to up their game, or a Type B person struggling to work with a Type A, and you’d like some guidance, reach out. Let’s talk.
You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by phone at 207-956-0347.
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