- Are you Stuck Because You Are A Big Picture Thinker?
- 11 Habits That Set Detail Oriented People Apart
- What is a Detail Oriented Person?
- 1. They Notice Body Language
- 2. They Value Efficiency
- 3. They Proofread Their Work
- 4. They Connect Unconnected Dots
- 5. They Anticipate Problems
- 6. They Ask Critical-ThinkingQuestions
- 7. They Excel atTroubleshooting
- 8. They’re Good atManaging Their Money
- 9. They Write EverythingDown
- 10. They to Be InControl
- 11. They Stay Organized
- Final Thoughts on Being a Detailed Oriented Person
- 9 things detail-orientated people always do (but never talk about)
- 2) You Anticipate Trouble
- 3) You Make Sense of Seemingly Unconnected Things
- 4) You’re a Perfectionist
- 6) You Work Your Way Backwards to Find a Solution
- 7) You to Actively Observe
- 8) You Are Quick to Notice Change
- 9) You Value Numbers and Records
- How to Identify Detail-Oriented People
- 8 Things That Set Detail-Oriented People Apart
- 1. They tend to be observant
- 2. They tend to be perfectionists
- 3. They tend to be organized
- 4. They tend to be efficient
- 5. They tend to be better at understanding causes rather than just witnessing effects
- 6. They tend to get lost or overwhelmed in the details
- 7. They tend to be micro-managers
- 8. They may have high-functioning anxiety
- 7 Things Detail-Oriented People Notice
- 1. What people are wearing
- 2. Body language
- 3. Misspelled words and improper grammar
- 4. The big picture
- 5. Patterns
- 6. Things place
- 7. How much is left
Are you Stuck Because You Are A Big Picture Thinker?
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Big picture thinkers can have a very hard time finding their place in the professional world. If you feel stuck at work, or in your business, you might be a big picture thinker trying to do the work of a detail-oriented person. Let’s look at what constitutes a “big picture” thinker.
A big picture thinker s to tackle big, complex, ideas: you might enjoy creating systematic solutions to organizational projects, for example, or to design strategy.
A big picture thinker loves to brainstorm, is a visionary, and has lots of ideas on how to create new companies or programs.
A big picture thinker can be messy or “all over the place,” or forgetful. You think so fast and get excited about all the possibilities that you forget the next task needed to go from point A to point B. That’s because you are already thinking about getting to Z!
A big picture thinker hates to deal with lots of little details, repetitive tasks, and minutiae. Being an executive assistant is a job from hell in any big picture thinker’s book.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, this sounds great! But why would I ever feel stuck if I am creative, visionary, someone capable of seeing patterns and build systems? Well, unfortunately, a lot of us grow up thinking we have to learn to do those more detail oriented jobs first, before we can tackle more complex stuff. And most professions’ entry-level jobs are very suitable for detail-oriented people but an absolute disaster for big picture thinkers.
Let me give you a very simple example from my own experience. When I was in college studying photography, I got a job assisting a studio photographer. I was still buying into the idea that I had to work my way up. All I had to do for him were very detailed tasks, for example, I had to put slides in the correct filing folder.
Sounds easy, right? Well, for me it was really, really hard.
First of all, I was bored to death, but then as I was trying to do the work, my mind would start to question the system: why is this category separate from that? What if a slide could be into two categories, which one should I choose? And why is this system designed this way anyway, could it be improved? What if we categorized by year instead of topics, by client instead of product, etc. In short, I was terrible at this job: I was slow, bored, confused, questioning everything. My boss was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and tried really hard to work with me. But finally he just had to let me go. I felt crushed, and a total failure. If I couldn’t do the little stuff, how could I possibly “work my way up”?
Just a few years later, I really, really needed a job, and a friend told me they were hiring an Italian teacher at a local elementary school. I needed the money, and I thought, why not, I’ll try.
And I got the job! As soon as I started, I realized I was now in charge of teaching 200 students, in 3 separate grades, alongside 11 teachers, and there was no curriculum, no one had ever built a system for this. I had to build it all.
I had to figure out what to teach first, how to teach it, how to appeal to different learners, how to match the energy and discipline of every classroom and more. It sounds way harder than filing slides, right? Wrong. For me this was exciting, challenging, fun, and I could do it really well.
Yes, some of it required me to be detailed oriented – and I would often forget the little stuff, make sure to include detailed instruction with the 3rd grade homework. But because this was a big picture type of job that required me to create systems and complex, creative programs, I excelled at it. This was the moment I realized I am a big picture thinker. And I have embraced it ever since then.
If you feel stuck, and consistently fail to excel at what you do, consider that you might need to try something much, much bigger. Imagine being a big picture thinker vs. a detailed oriented person as two ends of a spectrum – and then try to figure out where you fit on that spectrum.
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Most big picture thinkers are literally unable to “work their way up.” We need to jump to a higher level, start our own businesses, or find an organization, the school I taught at, that will give us a chance, because they recognize our natural abilities.
The best big picture thinkers I know work for themselves, or are leaders at their organizations, or struggled really hard at the beginning of their careers, and after repeatedly failing, get enough years of experience under their belts to jump to yet another company but this time they are given the space and title to work on complex and creative projects.
Are you wondering if you can become a detailed oriented person if you are not? I am afraid the answer is No. Although you can stretch your tolerance for detail-oriented work, this is one of the very few innate traits you are stuck with. So learn to love yourself and embrace it
11 Habits That Set Detail Oriented People Apart
Last Updated on March 3, 2020
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Think about someone you know whom youconsider to be detail oriented.
When you think about this person, do youfeel impressed by their skills or intellect? Or perhaps you feel annoyed bytheir perfectionism. Or are you theperson who first popped into your head?
I feel the term “detail oriented” isa buzzword in the job interviewing world– it’s one characteristic that peopleoften pick off of a list of strengths that they find on the internet (somewherebetween “strong communication skills” and “leadership skills”) to recite back to a potential employer.
But what does it really mean to be detailoriented and how does it make you any different from the rest of the world?
In this article, we will go into depthabout what this personality trait really means. Then, we will look at 11 habitsof people who are detail oriented.
Let’s get to it.
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What is a Detail Oriented Person?
A detail oriented person is one whothinks thoroughly–focusing not only on the bigger picture, but also on theminor details of a project or task.
They are diligent in their efforts tounderstand the causes behind effects and patient in their pursuit of answers.
While people who are detail oriented often grow up using their meticulousmethod of thinking, this trait can also be developed or learned throughexposure to situations that require its value.
Now that you know what it means to be detail oriented, let’s look at some habits that people with this characteristic have in common.
1. They Notice Body Language
Statistics vary, but depending on the situation, somewhere around 80% of communication comes from body language. However, rarely does this number drop below 60%, making body language a universally critical part of communication.
People who pay close attention to detailnotice how others around them are carrying themselves.
People who are detailoriented will make it a point to pay attention to how other people arepresenting themselves in order to gain a comprehensive assessment of the peoplearound them.
Being able to instinctively make this social observation givesdetail oriented people a strong ability to recognize other people’s feelings and respond appropriately.
Even by simply noticing someone else’s facial expression, a detail oriented person can recognize others’ true feelings and sometimes their intentions as well–as studies have actually found that people who keep their eyebrows up just a bit and offer a friendly look to others are seen as being the most trustworthy.
2. They Value Efficiency
This is certainly not to say that people whoare detail oriented rush through things or try to find shortcuts. They simplyreally do not to waste time. They believe that every minute that is spenton a project matters when it comes to the end product, so time should not bemisused.
Also, detail oriented people can often seepatterns or alternate routes that others may overlook that can lead toincreased efficiency.
When working on a project, a detail orientedperson keeps each small component running smoothly in order to be sure to reachtheir deadline with a complete final product. They ensure nothing is leftbehind during the process to prevent having to go back and pick up lost pieceslater.
3. They Proofread Their Work
You would be hard-pressed to find a detailoriented person who was willing to turn in a piece of work without proofreadingit first. And, while many people give their writing a once-over before sendingit on, people who are detail oriented may end up sending version 5, 6, or 7 tothe recipient because they repeatedly go back and change things.
Proofreading for errors and for overallcontent looks at both the big picture and the small picture of anything that iswritten. When proofreading, not only are detail oriented people checking forgrammar and punctuation errors, they’re also looking for continuity of ideasand a consistent message throughout their work.
4. They Connect Unconnected Dots
While anyone can be aware of the details of aproject, it will be the detail oriented person who keeps even the most minordetails in mind when trying to solve a problem. This is done by recognizingpatterns, even if they are seemingly nonsensical to others.
Detail oriented people analyze detailsdifferently than others, using details as a guide that leads to an answer. Thismeans that detail oriented people know what small facts to focus on to be ableto resolve problems that need a creative solution. They also tend to groupsimilar details together to find patterns and commonalities and consider how various details mayaffect one another.
5. They Anticipate Problems
People who are detail oriented know that ifthey fail to look at all of the details, they won’t be able to confidently saythat everything will turn out just right. They’re also aware of how every partof a whole ultimately serves its own purpose in a process.
Let’s say you’re planning a party at yourhouse. You know you will be put on the spot to entertain a lot of guests, soyou will ly take the reins of the situation and clean your house, plan thefood, plan for seating, create some sort of entertainment or focal point of theparty, etc.
You set up a rain plan, make sure you will have more than enoughfood in case extra people come or people eat more than you expect, and you makesure you have enough ice and toilet paper to last the entire night.
Because ifyou don’t do this, you can’t be confident that the party will go well.
This process goes through the minds of detailoriented people for everything that they do. They evaluate every part of aproject to prevent the entire thing from falling apart.
6. They Ask Critical-ThinkingQuestions
While people who pay closeattention to detail sometimes overthink things compared to broader thinkers,their propensity to view everything with a perceptive eye often helps themnotice things that others don’t.
Detail oriented persons to ask question in order to make system more efficient, confirm facts, and find the missing parts of an equation.
In order to get to that place,detail oriented people often ask themselves critical-thinking questions,whether they are working on their own project or reviewing someone else’s.
They to look for gaps in stories, logistical fallacies, and ways to simplifycomplicated processes. They to askquestions in order to make systems more efficient, confirm facts, and find themissing parts of an equation.
They want to know why things are how they arewithout making any assumptions.
7. They Excel atTroubleshooting
The outcome of anything is usuallycaused by many much smaller moving pieces. For example, if you turn on a lightswitch, the light comes on. But if you go into this with more detail, you see thatif you flip a light switch, the gate snaps shut, which completes the circuitand lets power flow into the light bulb through the switch.
But what goes onbehind the scenes if you flip a light switch and the light doesn’t come on?
This depends on whatwent wrong during the aforementioned process. Is the light bulb burned out? Issomething wrong with the gate?
People who aredetail oriented can work backwards through processes to troubleshoot where theproblem is occuring. While in this situation, the problem was mechanical, theability to troubleshoot can also apply to solving social problems, such as whya company has such a high turnover rate.
8. They’re Good atManaging Their Money
People who focus onthe details know when a resource is starting to get low. They enjoy usingnumbers to keep track of things, so, by default, keeping track ofmoney is second nature to them.
Detail orientedpeople know exactly how much money is coming in and going their bankaccounts so they can be sure that they’re staying on track with their financialgoals.
Because they’re goodwith numbers, companies look to hire people in certain positions (such asaccounting and finance) who naturally pay close attention to detail.
9. They Write EverythingDown
People who aredetail oriented keep a record of everything by writing it down. They know thatby writing things down, they can unlock a higher level of thinking and astronger sense of focus. Detail oriented people don’t keep their brains tied upby trying to remember everything because they want to leave room to process newinformation.
Keeping detailedrecords allows people to have a safety net by freeing up their mind to focus onother things. It also helps peopleprioritize their tasks because they’re able to see everything onpaper. Because they don’t want to forget anything important, people who payclose attention to detail often refer back to their lists orjournals.
10. They to Be InControl
People who pay attention to detail don’t to give up their sense of control over their work. They prefer that no onemesses with their system or tries to micromanage them. As long as detailoriented people can maintain control, they feel confident that the work theyare responsible for will get done correctly.
Also, because they to be proactive ininitiating plans, people who are detail oriented prefer others to let them takethe lead on projects. And, because they are good at managing a lot of smallermoving parts, being the lead on a project can be a good role for them.
11. They Stay Organized
Everyone has their own system for maintaining organization, and detail orientedpeople are no exception. People who pay close attention to detail often usespecific methods to organize their work, such as color-coding, creating lists,and using a reminder app.
They want to be efficient with their time, soplanning in advance to prevent wasting time in the future is often key. Detailoriented people are great at managing their time, and they use tools such asgrouping tasks together to help reduce their time expenditure and never wait until the last minute to get something done.
Final Thoughts on Being a Detailed Oriented Person
If you want to become more detail oriented, think of these habits and personality traits and try to align your everyday actions with them. If you feel you are already detail oriented, because this is such a buzzword in business, it is often better to show an employer that you fall into this category of people than to simply tell them.
Some people associate being detail oriented with being a perfectionist, but that isn’t necessarily true. It simply means that you’re able to pick up on the smaller details of a project as well as see the big picture, and see how all of those components come together.
Finally, one way to stand out from the crowd is learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.
9 things detail-orientated people always do (but never talk about)
There are two types of people in the world:
Those who look at the big picture, and those who dwell on the specifics.
In business and life, both of these types are important — but not everyone knows which type they are.
Some people think they’re detail-oriented, only to realize that they focus more on a grand vision.
So, the question is:
How would you know if you’re really more keen on the details instead of the bigger picture?
Here are 9 habits of detail-orientated people:
Wasting time is the question.
Even one extra minute means expending more energy and valuable resources that could have been dedicated to other endeavors.
For detail-oriented people, the bottom line is this:
Each part, no matter how small, matters in meeting the big objective.
Therefore, you must pay attention to each and every detail. Keeping these small parts running smoothly means reaching or even beating the deadline.
2) You Anticipate Trouble
Some people don’t think too much of the ‘basic’ elements. They believe there’s nothing to worry about, but that’s not how people should think.
Keep Murphy’s law in mind:
“Things will go wrong if any given situation if you give them a chance.”
If you don’t examine each and every detail, how can you say with complete confidence that everything’s going to be okay?
Imagine you’re going to build your dream home. You know for sure it’s going to be the house of your dreams.
Why? It’s because you have full creative control.
From the color of each room to the design of every shelf and doorknob, there are distinct details that define your perfect residence.
So the same goes for detail-oriented people:
They evaluate each small aspect to prevent the whole from crumbling.
You don’t just say that your dream house is big. Instead, you go into every detail and examine what works and what doesn’t until the entire structure is built up in your mind.
3) You Make Sense of Seemingly Unconnected Things
Let us get one thing straight here:
Everyone knows the details and ideally keeps them in mind.
The great thing about detail-oriented people is that they don’t easily forget about the minor details that would otherwise go above the heads of other people.
But how is this possible?
The key here is to identify patterns — even if they don’t actually exist.
As a student, remember how hard it was to memorize all the test items a day before the exam?
You probably made patterns to recall the answers with ease. Perhaps a series of concepts started with the same letter, or maybe the historical dates all had odd-numbered years.
In life, you also make sense all the chaos around you:
You slowly but surely remember the streets on the way to work by thinking of the shape they form.
You count how many bookstores you pass by before you reach a target destination.
It’s just who you are — you organize and connect ideas in order not to lose sight of the end goal.
4) You’re a Perfectionist
Ensuring that each part of the process goes smoothly is great.
But you know what isn’t?
Constantly going back to one part to ensure that it’s practically flawless.
Ironically, there’s a tendency to waste time even when you’re all about efficiency. You badly want things to work out the first time that you repeatedly check everything.
Even when you’ve tested the first step 100 times, you check it again one more time just to be sure.
Here’s the cold, hard truth:
Detail-oriented people develop anxiety when they strive for perfection.
Look, nothing’s absolutely perfect, and that’s perfectly fine. Even the best painters of all-time think there’s something that needs fixing in what the world views as masterpieces.
So stop thinking of all the what-ifs when you’ve already thought things through.
Being concerned about the specifics can be a disadvantage if you begin ordering other people around.
We get it:
You want your life to go as planned.
However, your sense of control should not impede the freedom of others to do what they want.
You don’t get to order others around just because you’re feeling anxious about every little thing in life.
Otherwise, you might lose your friends.
This also applies to work when you boss around your coworkers every single time. You can suffer from social isolation if you don’t control yourself.
What can you do?
Trust them. Be critical only when necessary. Don’t make them feel they can’t even do the most basic tasks without your assistance.
If you still feel insecure all the time, remember this:
Life is a series of ups and downs. It’s okay to not always get what you want. You don’t have to write down each and every detail about your future.
Learn to accept that some things are and should be your control. This way, you can spend your time and energy on aspects of your life that you can change.
6) You Work Your Way Backwards to Find a Solution
Detail-oriented people can readily identify the cause by looking at the effect.
It’s how you solve a maze:
When you were a kid, you might have stumbled upon a drawing of a maze. But instead of putting your pencil at the starting point, you trace the correct path from the maze exit back to the entrance.
You know that an effect has to point back to a specific cause. So if your desktop computer breaks down, you don’t immediately replace the entire machine.
Instead, you take a more careful approach:
First, you identify the problem. Is the monitor showing a black screen? Is the keyboard not responding to your typing? Maybe the wireless printer isn’t working properly.
Being detail-oriented allows you to easily narrow down the list of possible causes.
For one, you know that a system works because of its distinct, interconnected parts. And second, that each of these parts has a specific function.
So if a problem occurs, you just have to recall which part should be working in the first place to prevent it from happening.
7) You to Actively Observe
Everyone knows how to observe.
Detail-oriented people do it better through active observation.
By this, we mean that your eyes don’t just hover from one object to another. Nor do you listen just because your ears can hear a conversation.
Active observation means knowing exactly where and when to look.
Here’s a good comparison:
Watching the news while you simply rest on the sofa for six hours a day is passive observation — it’s just information overload.
On the other hand, taking down notes and thinking of what you want to clarify is an example of active observation. You inspect what’s in front of you so that you see the many parts of the big story.
For detail-oriented people, it’s all about being critical of the information presented and concentrating on the key aspects to find a solution.
8) You Are Quick to Notice Change
You return home after a long day at work. You take off your coat and hang it. You feed your dog usual, but then you pause for a while.
You think to yourself: Did something change?
Soon, you notice that the laundry hamper was moved by half a meter. It turns out your dog was curious about the smell of dirty clothes.
The position of your laundry hamper isn’t important. It doesn’t affect your work output or whether you’ll have a good sleep or not tonight.
But that’s the thing with detail-oriented people:
They don’t let anything slip past them.
You just know when something doesn’t fit the overall picture. There’s an awareness that things aren’t the way you left them, and this affects your sense of control.
Detail-oriented people are your friends who effortlessly spot all the differences between two similar-looking images.
9) You Value Numbers and Records
Numbers are your best friend. From managing your personal budget to checking company expenses, your eyes are glued to every single digit and computation.
What’s so great about this?
It means people can rely on you with their money and financial assets.
Your impeccable attention to detail—no matter how boring it is to look at spreadsheets all day long—allows you to properly allocate the remaining resources.
You don’t ignore the smallest errors. In the end, they’re all mistakes that need correcting to keep the whole system running smoothly.
How to Identify Detail-Oriented People
Overall, there are many characteristics that will help you determine if you’re a detail-oriented individual.
Perhaps you to find patterns to understand complicated concepts, or you go through every process multiple times to ensure optimal performance.
But the key takeaway is this:
Don’t get all caught up with keeping count and verifying every little thing all the time.
Sometimes, you have to be content with your ideas so that you can finally put them into action.
After all, what’s the value of all those details if they’re not put to good use in the end?
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8 Things That Set Detail-Oriented People Apart
Being an observant, detail-oriented person includes many positives and negatives, with the positives generally outweighing the negatives.
On the positive side, detail-oriented people tend to be observant, notice problems before they become problems, notice mistakes that may or may not be serious, and can read people pretty well.
On the negative side, one must learn to reign in that trait so that it doesn’t turn into crippling perfectionism and arrogance.
One may also find they receive mixed reactions from other people who are not detail oriented. Other people tend to feel uncomfortable and weird if you can recall some obscure personal detail they mentioned in an offhanded way six months ago.
However, a detail-oriented mindset is more often a benefit than a hindrance, particularly if one can learn to navigate the pitfalls that go along with it.
So, what sets detail-oriented people apart?
1. They tend to be observant
It’s all too easy to gloss over the smaller parts when you’re trying to see the big picture. But, it’s important to remember that every big picture is composed of many small moving parts and systems.
As an example, consider you want to buy a car from a friend. You go look at the car and it seems to be in great condition. It’s clean, polished, with no rust.
The car itself is the big picture, but it is composed of many smaller parts and systems that may indicate there is a problem with the big picture.
Does it start right up? Is it leaking any fluids? Any belts squealing? Is the exhaust louder than it should be? Does the engine sound good?
A detail-oriented person is ly to be more interested in the smaller parts and systems that make up the car.
2. They tend to be perfectionists
The best is the enemy of the good. – Voltaire
The detail-oriented person can easily get swamped in trying to make the smaller parts of their big picture perfect. The problem is that nothing is ever perfect.
You can ask any artist what they feel they could improve about a piece of their work, and they will ly be able to rattle off at least a few things that they wished they had tweaked or polished more.
One must strive to avoid getting swamped in the pursuit of perfection, otherwise nothing ever gets accomplished.
At some point, one needs to decide that they are done with whatever it is they are working on and let it go out into the world.
3. They tend to be organized
Organization is an important part of the efficiency of many smaller moving parts. The detail-oriented person is ly to be an organized person in some, if not all, facets of their life.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are organized in ALL facets of their life. Perhaps their work areas are meticulously cleaned and organized so that they can find exactly what they need, when they need it – but their home may be cluttered in a way that seems character.
4. They tend to be efficient
Efficiency is about making the smaller parts move consistently toward the overall goal. Detail-oriented people are often drawn to efficiency because of their attention and understanding of the smaller parts.
They can often see patterns or routes that big picture thinkers may overlook due to a lack of familiarity with the smaller parts.
That doesn’t mean that all big picture thinkers don’t understand the smaller parts of the big picture, but they may find themselves forgetting about them more often than the detail-oriented person because their focus encompasses a larger scope.
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5. They tend to be better at understanding causes rather than just witnessing effects
The outcome of a thing tends to be the process of many smaller moving parts. Again, we can look at a car for a reasonable example.
The car stops because you push on the brake pedal, which pushes out brake fluid to the calipers, which causes the calipers to clamp down on the rotors and bring the car to a halt.
So, what happens when you push the brake pedal down and the car doesn’t stop? Well, it depends.
A brake pedal that goes to the floor with no pressure typically indicates that there is a hole or a bad part somewhere in the braking system, so one would want to check the calipers and the brake lines to make sure nothing is damaged.
The effect is that the car’s brakes are bad, but the cause may be that a brake line rusted out and needs replacing.
Detail-oriented people often excel at troubleshooting and working backward through systems this. Those systems may be mechanical a car or social low morale in the workplace.
6. They tend to get lost or overwhelmed in the details
One bad thing about being detail oriented is that they may feel themselves getting lost or overwhelmed in all of the details that make the thing.
Most things in life have many moving parts. The more moving parts you’re aware of, the more difficult it can be to sort through them to find what you’re actually looking for.
Overthinking can be a significant problem if the detail-oriented person does not make an effort to curb runaway thought-processes.
Overthinking the details can easily kill friendships and relationships. The detail-oriented person may try to interpret every little nuance of the people around them and think that they are not being direct in their words. They may find ulterior motives or hidden meanings where there are none.
People generally don’t have a lot of patience for that.
7. They tend to be micro-managers
Micro-management ties heavily into perfectionism. The problem is that if a detail-oriented person is a perfectionist, their presence can have a drastically negative effect on the quality of work of those around them.
They may have a hard time letting subordinates or equals do their duties in a way that makes sense for them. That can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the circumstances.
When is it good? In situations where details are absolutely vital to the safety and effective functioning of a thing.
If your partner is working with chemicals, you don’t really want them to be too lax in paying attention to the details of their safety equipment and the materials they are handling, otherwise someone could get badly hurt.
You also wouldn’t want your attorney or accountant to be too lax with the details of their jobs.
Detail-oriented people need to be careful of how much of their precision they offload onto others. They must be able to extend trust to their family, friends, coworkers, or team members otherwise they may experience resentment, malicious compliance, or receive the bare minimum of effort.
Because what’s the point of doing a good job if your boss is just going to tell you that you did it wrong and you need to do it their way? Dangerous or critical processes not withstanding.
8. They may have high-functioning anxiety
A detail-oriented person may be that way due to high-functioning anxiety.
People with anxiety may try to exert as much control as they can over many facets of their life because it helps them feel safe, secure, and less anxious.
As a result, they tend to hone in on the details, because the details are where the causes of many problems are going to emerge from.
This is often not a good thing, because it generally causes other people to pull away. In general, people don’t want to be controlled or micro-managed.
It can also cause the person with anxiety distress when plans inevitably go awry, because a plan rarely stays intact once it’s put into application. Things usually change because of outside factors that one may not even be aware of.
Attention to detail is generally a good trait that is worth developing, but one must pay attention to how they are applying it to the people around them, lest they find themselves alienated and overwhelmed.
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7 Things Detail-Oriented People Notice
Details often make or break accomplishments. You could have an incredible idea for a new business venture, but big ideas are only as powerful as the details behind them.
That's why so many employers post job ads seeking detail-oriented workers. And that's why Steve Jobs revolutionized the tech industry; he was obsessed with perfecting the details.
If you often observe the following seven little things that detail-oriented people notice, you're well on your way along a path of success.
1. What people are wearing
Clothing is one of the most universal things that detail-oriented people notice. When they meet a new person, they note the outfit, the shoes, the accessories, and even the makeup.
It's a simple, detail-oriented method for quickly assessing the ideal way to interact with a new acquaintance. A nice wristwatch says something entirely different than a bare wrist.
Detail-oriented people know that, and adjust behavior accordingly.
2. Body language
Along with attention to clothing goes attention to body language. Detail-oriented people notice how other people are carrying themselves (or sitting).
This social observation gives detail-oriented people an exceptional ability to recognize others' feelings and then respond appropriately.
Is he slumping his shoulders? Is she holding her head up high? We already know which general feelings go along with these nonverbal cues, so taking the time to notice helps detail-oriented people succeed with others.
3. Misspelled words and improper grammar
I googled “detail-oriented people” and pretty much every random forum or column I clicked on included some mention of spelling and/or grammar.
As a writer I can easily relate to this particular penchant for perfection; it's something I discussed in-depth in my article “Is Bad Grammar Killing Your Brand?” I notice when commas are missing, and, if you're me, you may have noticed the missing comma in my previous sentence.
Had I no point to make, there certainly would be a comma after “writer.” Practicing this kind of attention to detail may not help you in your chosen career or lifestyle, but it's still a good way to identify other detail-oriented people around you.
4. The big picture
Sometimes the devil is in the details, and other times the devil is in spending way too much time on the details.
Being a detail-oriented person is really only useful if attention to detail is sufficiently complemented by an eye for the big picture.
Looking at things with a broad perspective allows the detail-oriented person to get an overview that can inform and enhance decision making.
When detail-oriented people simultaneously look at the big picture and its details, they can recognize patterns that connect the little things. An easy example of this pattern-recognition process is when you start becoming familiar with the streets of a new neighborhood.
When you first drive through, the streets leading to your destination are the most important details, and the big picture isn't much of a concern. When you drive through the neighborhood again to a different destination, the specific streets you're driving along are once again the important details.
After you drive through a few more times–taking different streets, learning different routes–you may then recognize how the streets were planned. Maybe the area is organized into perfect blocks. Maybe it's a swirling, yet patterned collection of cul-de-sacs. Either way, if you're keenly aware of the details, you'll ly notice these and other patterns.
6. Things place
Detail-oriented people often make great investigators, because they notice the details that don't quite fit into the big picture.
When you walk into your home, do you immediately notice if something has changed? If so, you're probably paying attention to the little details of your daily life.
Detail-oriented people usually remember exactly how they leave their personal space, and if something is place when they return, the difference glares in their face.
Remember those kids' puzzles that asked “What's wrong with this picture?” If you were good at finding the odd objects, you just might be detail-oriented yourself.
7. How much is left
Detail-oriented people are usually good with money, because they know when a certain resource is getting low.
They see numbers as a tool to keep track of details systematically, and they use those numerical details to keep the big picture running smoothly.
Do you know how much cash you have in your wallet right now? If so, you're paying attention to the numerical details. It's only a matter of time before that attention to detail pays off!
Published on: Aug 5, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.