March 16, 2010

The Importance For Managers of Attention to Detail

An eye for detail is critical in you want the best performances from your team. Your awareness skills need to be sharpened fully and noticing when there is something out of line, however minor, will serve you very well indeed.

When you create a sensitivity to the unexplained; unclear; silent and seemingly innocuous in your workplace, you find out more.

This works especially well when you get to know people, because you sense an off-day and become aware. You are not necessarily doing anything to start with. It’s just something you notice, log and perhaps raise later where it needs it. Having this innate sensitivity is very useful as you become and evolve as a manager.

When it comes to ‘things’ your sensitivity can be very valuable too. That unlabelled, seemingly empty box can be valuable product that goes out of date soon. It could be a time-sensitive audit that’s been sitting on someone’s desk for a while. It might be a wall that looks a little out of line or a machine that sounds a little unusual.

There are many, many opportunities to sharpen this awareness of yours, in all shapes and forms, depending on what industry you are in. It’s a talent that can be practiced by review after events as well as listening to the comments of your people and following through.

Sensitivity and attention to detail are skills that take little time and yet can be very valuable in the returns they provide, in efficient and effective uses of your time. Often any time invested here can be easily shown to be some of the most value-creating time you ever spent.

This is all about noticing and then gently investigating, through questioning and listening (those so valuable coaching skills that you learn), to focus in many situations where you need to know more – as well as raise the awareness of your team about the issue – and that you know!

‘How’s that audit coming along?’
‘What’s this here?’
‘What’s in that box?’
‘Who is dealing with this right now?’
‘When is product ‘x’ due in next’?

Being curious about things is almost as valuable as being curious about your people, important though that is. because ‘things’ give clues about the attention to detail of others, who have responsibilities that might not be as sharp as yours – in fact, they might not be as sharp as they need to be.

Not only will you learn much, your people will know that you are sharp too and through that, their awareness and attention to detail will get much better.

Funny, over a short period of time, not only will the number of empty, unlabelled boxes drop dramatically, but those that linger, you can bet your people will know all about them.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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