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You could be a genius in what you do. But if your work is occasionally sloppy, you may be losing points right and left — and in particular with those who have to fix your errors and sort out the mess.
Being a big-picture kind of person could be excused when you are in a top position, with a staff of assistants who take care of the details, and sort out issues that don’t deserve your mental power. But until you get there — and in fact to get there — you must be willing not only to get your hands dirty, but to do a good job in producing complete, presentable work.
For example, if you have spent months working on a presentation, make sure that this isn’t swamped with spelling mistakes and illogical transitions. Even if you consider your ideas too powerful regardless of the means you use to communicate them, ensure to present them in a proper format that is properly communicated and easily credited to you.
Similarly, doing a great job on a project without taking care of the details can be disastrous. And unless you are able to pay attention to detail — or find the support staff that can do so — you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
In fact, you never know how far small mistakes may be building into a big problem with the supervisors despite your abilities. These could be getting in the way of a promotion as you are perceived as less than perfect when it comes to quality.
In particular, here are a few points that highlight why sloppy work can hurt you.
Cause of problems
Problems are not always proportionate with their causes. Back to the typo or grammar errors example, anyone who worked in public relations, communications or advertising knows that a publication or an advertisement that cost hundreds — if not thousands — of dirhams to produce can be ruined by one tiny typo.
Similarly, a missing detail can bring down an entire budget or a complete business plan. That is why small details can cause major issues that spiral into a crisis that, in turn, can eventually cost your job.
Undermine your authority
If your subordinate staff is busy fixing your mess, you owe them in a way. There is a difference between when they are doing in their job tasks — that may not be as complex as yours — and when they are taking time to go over your work to make sure it is accurate.
When you often get corrected, your authority and influence in guiding staff to better quality and higher productivity will be undermined. In fact, you may find yourself grateful for their help that you avoid providing any critical feedback that helps them grow, which defeats your role as a leader.
No one is perfect, but if your work is particularly sloppy compared to others, this could taint your image.
Again, despite all the hard work and great ideas, you may be looked on as someone who needs a second pair of eyes or constant supervision. That is not where you want to be if your goal is to produce top-notch ideas.
The point is: The packaging is important. Wrap your ideas in a thorough and complete form, and you will likely get the attention you are hoping for.
Conversely, when you become the sloppy one, others may not take your work seriously. Remember, even the most objective people form their impression based on a few events.
So even if you are understood for not being detail-oriented in your current position, the situation can change. Work environments can be limited and word of mouth flies quickly. You don’t want occasional sloppiness be a hurdle when seeking a reference or when taking on a new position.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to Gulf News
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.