Many managers and leaders are not detail-focused. That’s OK. However, attention to detail matters. If you aren’t detail-focused, then you’d better have somebody in your team that does care about attention to detail.
As a manager or aspiring leader, you need to care about the details. Why?
Because it’s your reputation at stake. The quality of the work that you oversee is a reflection of you, and your team. Do you want people to see you as a leader who doesn’t care about doing things properly?
1. Attention to Detail matters, Because if You Don’t Care, Why Should Other People?
If it doesn’t look like you’ve reviewed your work before it goes out into the world, what are you telling people? Here are some possible messages you are sending:
- Your team is disorganised and rushes the work
- You hope that people will look past the issues and will instead spend time really understanding the core contents
- You believe people won’t notice
- Your team isn’t capable of doing high-quality work.
Attention to detail matters because someone who takes more pride in their work will win every time.
2. Attention to Detail Matters Because One Error Can Ruin Your Credibility
Attention to detail is not all about spelling or grammar. It simply means getting the small things right.
I’ve seen business proposals submitted where the title and name of the person who would approve the proposal were both incorrect. I’ve also seen consulting submissions where the final pricing had errors, resulting in an incorrect cost.
Some people may look past these issues, but the fact is, they just make your work look sloppy. If your audience sees errors in obvious places, then they are likely to have less confidence in your work as a whole.
People are busy, and sometimes they have so many items to review, they need a quick way to cut down the list. If your work contains errors, it’s likely people will use them as the excuse they need to put your work in the bin.
3. The Details Matter, Because You Are a Role Model For Your Team
When leaders don’t really care about the details and are content to produce low-quality work, guess what? That’s what your team will start to do, too.
It’s important to remember that you’re a role model for your team. They watch what you do, and they take notice of what you focus on. If you don’t pay attention to getting the details right, then they won’t feel the need to worry about them either.
So if you are frustrated with a lack of quality in the work of your team, maybe take a look at the example you are setting first.
Paying Attention to Detail Doesn’t Mean Aiming for Perfection
Just because you pay attention to detail, it doesn’t mean you need to spend your time working IN the detail.
What I mean by this is that you don’t want to spend your time consumed with small, low-value tasks. Most of the time, you want to leave that to your team.
But, when there is work to review, you should take care to make sure that the important details are right. It’s a fine balance, and sometimes people fall into the trap of trying to achieve perfection!
You can read more about perfectionist leaders in this post: How Being a Perfectionist is Killing Your Leadership.
Looking at the Details is the Easy Part, So Get it Right
I saw an article recently where somebody was complaining that people nitpick on minor errors in documents. But I would argue that you don’t really want to waste time with a document that looks like it was prepared by somebody who doesn’t care.
Getting the detail right with calculations, spelling and grammar is the easy part.
The hard work is getting the solution right, doing your research, crafting the right story or selling a dream to your customer.
Attention to detail matters. People who see those small errors throughout your document may just throw your team’s hard work in the bin.