How to Mentor a Perfectionist

From the Harvard Business Review, a candid look at perfectionism and how to manage it in ourselves and those we are paired to teach.

While this was written with the boardroom in mind, it struck me as applicable to the classroom as well.  Though perfectionism is not the norm amongst Middle School students,  it is a familiar concern with some and might be for more if we recognize that the choice some students make not to do work as a way to cope with their fear of imperfection (a symptom of perfectionism). Perfectionism is not necessarily what drives successful people; in fact, certain people are successful despite their perfectionism.The difference between striving for excellence and striving for perfection is stark.  As a teacher and librarian, I realize my students should be encouraged to seek excellence – that is what stimulates growth.

The difference between striving for excellence and striving for perfection is as stark as the difference between the possible and the impossible.  As a teacher and librarian, I realize my students should be encouraged to seek excellence, which promotes growth.  Perfectionism is stressful and debasing, and loses the purpose of the task which is skill building.

The article also provides some nice reminders and tools to employ when working with perfectionists.  Definitely a worthwhile read.

Source: How to Mentor a Perfectionist

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