Most people will say, “yes” when asked whether or not they are detail oriented which is strange because…
Very Few People are Detail Oriented
So, going by the numbers, you probably are not detail oriented; at least, not naturally. You get the benefit of the doubt here, though. After all, you are here to learn or to get some help for someone else — a friend, employee, coworker, whatever — so you are at least aware of the importance of being a detail oriented person.
It’s Hard to Self-Assess Attention to Detail
You may have heard the old thing about crazy people: You can’t trust a crazy person who says he’s not crazy because he’s crazy. Similarly, you cannot trust a person who is not detail oriented who says he is because he himself has no idea what he has overlooked or missed completely. Get it?
In short, the only real way to tell if someone is detail oriented or not is to work with or around them for a while. We are working on a test and some tools for it but you’ll have to wait.
Might Look Like Laziness, Stupidity, or Apathy
Lack of attention to detail can make a person appear to be lazy, apathetic, or even a little on the slow side. Working with someone with little attention to detail can be frustrating because the job needs to be done right and bosses or coworkers probably have to clean up the mess or make improvements that should have been included during the initial planning.
How About You?
So, are you a detail oriented person? Maybe. Maybe not. As a starting point to your self-analysis, ask yourself these questions (and, be honest; give yourself examples):
- Do you get bothered by mistakes in other people’s work (like, really bothered by it)?
- Do you methodically check and re-check your own work?
- How much time do you put into planning your own work — from simple tasks to complex projects?
- Are you patient about finding solutions to problems to make sure you get it right?
- In a team of 3 or more, are you the person other people ask to look things over one last time (doesn’t count if you’re the only other person to ask)?