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Perfectionism vs Incompetence vs Laziness


Robby

It seems like there are two reasons things don’t get done. One is perfectionism. This is when someone doesn’t want to declare work complete until it’s just right. Another is that people are genuinely incompetent. They aren’t sure how to do the work and they spend a ton of time running in circles and never really making much progress.

But the worst is laziness. That’s when no work is done because the person just can’t get motivated.

Lazy Dog
© Flickr User Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería

Of course this isn’t just a phenomenon with people here in Indianapolis, but it’s something that many workers complain about to me. They have colleagues who are perfectionists, who are incompetent, or who seem lazy.

If it’s either of the first two, I tell them they are lucky. How wonderful to have people who either want to do a great job, but can’t because they are too focused or haven’t had the necessary training! These are relatively easy problems to solve.

For perfectionists, communicating that perfect is the enemy of good is an ongoing, but essential conversation. Praise work that they consider incomplete. Ensure that they understand that you appreciate their effort and their desire to go the extra mile, but it’s just not needed.

And for people who don’t know what they are doing, calmly explain that you want them to understand and they can learn. Encourage them to take classes, watch online videos, or read books.

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About the Blogger:

Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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