How to Work for a Perfectionist Boss



You write an email, your boss corrects a typo. You water the office plant; your boss shows you how to do it properly. You place a set of files on the right side of a desk; your boss moves them to the left side of the desk. It’s simple to understand: your boss is a meticulous perfectionist.

Working for a perfectionist can be a challenging endeavor, and one that can certainly drive you to your limits and even force you to submit your letter of resignation. Why? Because a perfectionist boss tends to micro-manage as well and seriously undermine your responsibilities and duties. 

However, instead of being too hasty, there are many ways to deal with a boss that pays attention to every single detail and wants everything to be as perfect as possible according to them. Moreover, you can personally benefit from having a punctilious boss in a wide spectrum of ways. 

Here are seven ways on how to work for a perfectionist boss:

1. Study your boss

Just what exactly does your boss dislike, desire and need? Is your boss’s biggest annoyance tardiness or is it spelling errors in subject lines? Whatever it is that irks your employer, study him or her and come to various conclusions like you would observe animals on a safari. By conducting a detailed study regarding the intricacies of your boss, you can establish a plan on how to perform your job without bothering the boss.

2. Maintain a right frame of mind

After the first couple of weeks, you may feel like quitting and looking for another job because working for a perfectionist is difficult. As time goes by, you will realize it’s just who they are and it’s not personal. With that being said, you can then maintain the right frame of mind and realize that this type of management may be best for your career. For instance, if your boss demands a well-written, error-free business document every time you compose one, then moving forward you can work with this habit. 

3. Always be punctual

If there is one thing that fastidious bosses despise, its employees being late. Whether it’s an early morning start time, a noon-hour lunch or an evening office party, you must always arrive on time. In fact, if possible, show up to the office 10 to 15 minutes earlier because this will guarantee kindness from your boss, at least for a few moments. 

4. Request realism and deadlines

When your boss demands unrealistic expectations that you know are pretty much impossible to accomplish, don’t despair and try to incite realistic trade-offs that can please both you and your boss. This also shows that you are being proactive in the job without waiting for orders. Furthermore, always ask for deadlines so you know when your boss wants something in.


5. Pay attention to the minuscule details

As you already understand, your boss is meticulous and, thus, micromanages every element of the business, including the very minor details. Since you know your boss will hone in on the small details throughout the day, try to alleviate this by taking care of those prior to her observations. If it’s done beforehand, then he or she will have less work and appreciate your astute behaviour. 

6. Keep a personal record

Let’s face it, bosses, whether perfectionist or disorganized, can be unfair and mistaken. This is why you should always keep and update a personal record of attendance records, meetings, customer recommendations, positive reviews from the boss or colleagues and performance documents. If there are disagreements, then you simply provide this record. 

7. Do not take it personally

Finally, no matter how rigid, insulting or irksome your perfectionist boss is, never, ever take it personal. Do not arrive home crying, do not be depressed on weekends and do not regularly complain about your boss to your friends and family members. Just take the boss’s personality as just another part of the job and dealing with it is an aspect of your pay grade.

See also: 11 Bad Bosses and How to Deal With Them

We’ve all had at least one difficult boss in our past that emitted characteristics of arrogance, selfishness, pessimism, discriminatory and/or indifference. Although it can be very hard to handle day in and day out, it’s still important to persevere and overcome these personality traits. Not every single job will be easy because you’ll always have some type of obstacle to face. A perfectionist boss is just one of those.