Queensland Law Society

Perfectionism – good or bad?

Perfectionism is commonly reported as being prevalent in the legal profession. There are multiple factors contributing to high levels of perfectionism, including:

  • The legal profession attracts high achievers, and only the best gain entry.
  • Success in the legal profession requires constantly achieving high standards of excellence and maintaining an image of pronounced competence.
  • Legal work demands the ability to pay meticulous attention to detail.
  • Mistakes can potentially result in very costly or serious consequences.

Perfectionism manifests in the workplace in individuals who are highly ambitious to do well, which can be positive unless the ambition is out of fear of making a mistake and leads to high, unrealistic targets and critical comparisons rather than a desire to produce a good outcome.

Perfectionism involves:

  • relentless striving for extremely high standards – for self and others
  • basing your self-worth largely on achieving such demanding standards
  • experiencing negative consequences as a result of pursuing these unrelenting standards, yet continuing to strive towards them.

As ultimate perfection can never realistically be achieved, striving towards perfection can cause chronic discontent and dissatisfaction, stress and anxiety. Managing perfectionism can prevent burnout and restore professional enjoyment. Discover strategies to manage perfection by watching related video clips on our YouTube channel or visit the QLS website and access the perfectionism factsheet and other wellbeing resources.

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1800 177 743  qls.com.au/lawcare