Germany: Control freaks live dangerously

 According to the researchers of the IFS (Institute for Social Science) in Munich - Germany, perfectionists are at major risk of burnout.

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Companies that systematically go beyond their capacities systematically also overwork their staff. The trend is to offer job flexibility but eventually the flexibility stops when it comes to performance indicators and outcomes: many staff members are not able to deliver their work within a given time frame. They end up in a vicious circle in which they desperately try to find a right balance between career-family and personal health.

We can distinguish two approaches: the perfectionists and the pragmatist. The first one won't accept any mistake whereas the second will follow a matter-of-fact approach: “this is all I can do”. Obviously the perfectionists suffer if they are forced to lower the quality of their work. Furthermore companies often send out ambiguous messages: on the one hand a good dose of perfectionism is appreciated and on the other being pragmatic is also welcome. Just running a course to promote pragmatism would not work out since individual differences are too many. So at the end of the day overloading systematically the staff becomes a boomerang for companies.

Ignoring that employees and workers also need to look after their children, parents or their own health is the wrong way, which most companies still chose to go. This is why the rate of burnout is likely to rise also in the future.

Source: Perfektionsten leben gefaehrlich, Interview by Nicola Holzapfel with Nick Kratzer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung N. 181, 8./9. August 2015, pag. 65.