Sloppy Work Can Seriously Damage Your Career

Let’s be clear that sloppy work is not poor performance. What do you think sloppy work is? I am talking about careless and lazy errors.

I can be guilty of sending out documents with spelling errors – I am appalled when I see it and can never quite understand how it happened; I am not lazy but I can clearly fall into the careless category. I won’t offer any reasons or excuses for it – ultimately it is my reputation I am damaging and that of my company and the same goes for you if you submit sloppy work.

Sloppiness can extend to the way that you treat people; turning up late, forgetting documents, not sending the things that you promised to them. Carelessness is usually rooted in one of the following;

• Feeling rushed
• Not double checking work
• Rushing tasks because they’re excited to finish a project
• Not caring about the quality of their work.
• Someone doesn’t enjoy a particular task – or have “disengaged” from their job
• Relying on computers to sort errors out for you

If it is you who is being sloppy – you really do need to slow down and double check. I know that redoing something that you have already done is one of the least appealing things that there is. So plan to get less done but do it right, be realistic about how long things take and don’t spend more time talking about it than doing it (procrastination and all that!)

If it is a team member that you need to deal with – you need to get your facts clear and your approach planned. If you are quick enough to criticise something, be equally adept at praising it when they get it right. Talk to people to try and get to the bottom of the problem – use the list above and coach them to overcome whatever the issues are. Remember this is not a poor performer, however they will impact the morale and wellbeing of those around them if the problem remains. If it is you, remind yourself of the saying that the carpenter “measures twice cuts once.” In other words – get it right first time.

Penny Whitelock

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