How Do I Work with Detail Absorbed Perfectionists?

Who do you know who is dependent, neat, perfectionist, careful and compliant? They need a peaceful environment in which to work and live. They are likely to go out of their way to avoid confrontation and will choose compliance over confrontation the majority of the time.

People with this behavioural and communication style want to be appreciated for the quality of their work and will comply out of a strong desire to do whatever is asked of them in an accurate and error free manner.

Because of their need to do things correctly and avoid mistakes they are usually cautious and conservative which can lead to others seeing them as acting too slowly. While attention to detail is a real strength of this style over dependence on detail, policies and procedures can become a weakness.

When under pressure they are likely to be too critical of themselves and others, and pass the buck or act defensively when criticised or proved wrong.

Want they want:

  • Standard policies and procedures for all to follow
  • Protection or removal from aggression or confrontation
  • Re-assurance that they are doing a good job
  • To feel a part of things
  • One-on-one attention
  • Not to be given too much responsibility outside their expert role
  • To have the quality of their work appreciated
  • Information, data and details; factual proof

What helps?

  • Prepare your “case” in advance.
  • Stick to business.
  • Be accurate and realistic.

What doesn’t help?

  • Being giddy, casual, informal or loud.
  • Pushing too hard or being unrealistic with deadlines.
  • Being disorganised or messy.

So if you work with someone that fits this description, appreciate the quality of the work they are contributing and their drive to get it right and consider what you can do to work more effectively with them from now on.

4 Responses to How Do I Work with Detail Absorbed Perfectionists?

  • Reading thru your article made me think if i am so. By & large yes i do.


  • This is a good characterisation at a social level. Psychologically it’s much more complex (as I’m sure you’ll appreciate Julie). This is me. I’ve had to overcome this to become a leader (and still working on it!) Never has it been more true to say that “Your strengths eventually become your weaknesses.”
    Keep writing …. 🙂

  • My manager is exactly like this. I tend to find being factual and organised helps. Useful points which I will use as of Monday.

    Lynsey, HR Business Partner

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