We spoke to Assessment Psychologist, Yass Rad, about the relevance of psychology in the workplace. That and her mightily impressive PHD that she’s researching for on the side.
Have you ever felt that overwhelming fear that the email you sent had a typo in it? And that, oh yeah, you also forgot to CC the client. You then spend the weekend dwelling and even send your line manager a private message on Sunday morning to apologise. They don’t reply, obviously. It’s the weekend. And: YOU’VE NOT ACTUALLY DONE ANYTHING WRONG.
Well, you’re not alone.
“My interest is people. I find them fascinating. How they think. How they feel. How they experience the world and show up at work. How we can help them. Anything that links to that and I’m happy…”
Having worked out her own triggers and pressure points, Yass is now exploring the idea of ‘perfectionism’ and how an individual shows up at work. After all, the workplace is somewhere that most people spend the vast majority of their lives. And her research will look at the negative outcomes of people scoring higher in perfectionism and how to best support them.
Like much of human personality, perfectionism a complex topic with a multitude of subcomponents and theories.
“One of the most interesting areas to me is how perfectionism can impact others. For example, perfectionistic managers. They may or may not be perfectionists in their own work but can be in their governance of others’ work.”
This scenario can pose real issues around how relationships are built and nurtured and the resulting interactions between a manager and their team.
“I’m a recovering perfectionist”
It’s important to note that Yass doesn’t want to eradicate perfectionism; there’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence. Problems start to arise when perfectionism leads to crippling your productivity or burnout. And it’s young people in the workplace who are most susceptible to this.
The research that Yass is undertaking will explore a specific intervention called acceptance and commitment training (ACT). Put simply, it works to improve an individuals psychological flexibility. The ability to take actions which move you towards your values despite the inevitable setbacks and various ups and downs of life.
Social media and schooling might have amplified perfectionism, I learn. That pressure of needing specific grades to get that all important degree to then just get a job. That and then seeing the constant ‘highlight reel’ of people’s lives on social media .
“Present-moment awareness is one of the key areas that ACT explores”