Employees who strive for perfection in the workplace are being driven to extreme stress and burnout, research has found.

The personality trait – featuring excessively high personal standards coupled with harsh self-criticism – is usually associated with virtue and high achievement.

But researchers from York St John University and the University of Bath have found it is “largely destructive” and can lead to poorer performance at work. The work, published in the journal Personality & Social Psychology Review, is the first to aggregate the full effects of perfectionism.

It found the trait is closely associated with burnout – a syndrome associated with chronic stress that manifests as extreme fatigue, perceived reduced accomplishment and eventual detachment.

Dr Andrew Hill, lead author of the review, said: “Our research suggests that if perfectionists are unable to cope with demands in the workplace, they will experience a range of emotional difficulties.”

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