Detail Oriented VS Big Picture Person: Pros and Cons

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People typically fall into one of two categories as they confront a project. And you might be wondering the difference between a Detail Oriented vs Big Picture person. Well, are you someone who focuses on every detail with absolute precision? Maybe you like to outline the project, create a schedule, and go through multiple edit stages.

Or do you prefer complete creative freedom to think big? Maybe you enjoy brainstorming new ways to tackle the project.

When it comes down to it – you are either a Detail Oriented or Big Picture person. But, which trait is better? We want to help you understand the differences between these two personality traits to become a better worker or improve your life.

A Definition of a Detail Oriented and Big Picture Person

A Detailed Oriented person believes that everything should be perfect. They can hyperfocus on a specific project to completion without distractions. They typically enjoy attention to detail, asking questions, and editing a task until it’s clear of errors. Alternatively, they are highly organized in all aspects of life. A Detailed Oriented person will have the cleanest desk and clearest mind.

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A Detailed Oriented person believes that everything should be perfect.

A Big Picture person focuses on the outcome of a project. They are creative, ambitious, and strive to be the best. They often prefer to work faster while focusing on a future goal. You can expect them to bring new ideas to a work meeting and stay motivated for the next project. Lastly, a Big Picture person wants to achieve great things because their dreams are big.

Detail Oriented Person Pros and Cons

Now, there are many wonderful benefits to either personality trait. Many employers want to hire both Detail Oriented and Big Picture persons for their companies. Likewise, both traits actively influence your life in positive ways.

Of course, even some good traits are accompanied by a few flaws. Don’t be discouraged, there are more positive than negative traits associated with these two characteristics. You can accept these flaws as a way of understanding more about yourself and begin your road to self-discovery. If you feel like you want to make a change in life, or wish to know more about yourself, here is a list of the Pros and Cons of a Detailed Oriented and Big Picture person.  

Pros for a Detailed Oriented Person

  • Good Memory – Although it’s challenging to maintain a good memory, Detailed Oriented people have no problem remembering vital information. Give them something important to remember, and they can hold it in their memory bank for future use. Coworkers can rely on them to recall specifics from a previous meeting, and friends can rely on them to remember special occasions. You won’t have to remind a Detail Oriented person about anything – they will most likely remind you!
  • Attention to Detail – Although this may appear as an obvious benefit, it still deserves to be mentioned. People who pay attention to detail won’t overlook necessary information. They are usually the first to fix a grammar error or catch a misspelled word before anyone else. Also, they are great at following directions; they will have the task done right the first time without any extra guidance.
  • Ask Questions – Typically, people take what others have to say and leave it at that. During a presentation, a Detail Oriented person may ask a handful of questions to fill in any missing data. It’s important to ask questions at work and in life. Many times, their questions are what provide helpful information to apply later. Such as asking questions during a physical exam or asking about the fine print when buying a car. A Detail Oriented person has no issues asking questions until they are satisfied.  
  • Problem Solvers – Detail Oriented people can solve problems and fix their own mistakes. Chances are, they have already thought through the worst and best-case scenarios of a situation. Backup plans have already been prepared, and they have everything handled. If there is a situation where they did not consider, they can actively work through the problem without issue, making them highly valuable in any life situation.
  • Always Prepared – They are the absolute best to plan vacations with because they will have everything ready to go days in advance. A Detail Oriented person has reserved plane tickets, hotel bookings, and all the best restaurants. They make sure to pack all necessary items and create an itinerary for everyone on the trip. They practice this sense of preparedness for vacations. They also manage to keep their life well managed.

Cons for a Detailed Oriented Person

  • Easily Overwhelmed – It takes a lot of time and effort to remember crucial information. When a new project is presented with large amounts of material, they can get anxious and freeze. It’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed at work. It may be easier for a Detail Oriented person to pick a stress-free job. That way, they can showcase their skills without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Can’t Multi-task – Because they are so meticulous, a Detailed Oriented person may take a long time to start a project. Projects begin to pile behind them because they can’t start a new project until the other has gone through various editing stages, which takes a lot of time.
  • Strive for Perfections – Although it is an ideal characteristic, many people take it to the extreme. A Detailed Oriented Person is no exception. Since perfection is a conundrum, many of them do not feel fulfilled in their lives because nothing can be perfect. They may find themselves in a state of high-functioning depression and need help.

Pros for a Big Picture Person

  • Creative and Ambitious – A Big Picture person is always filled with unique ideas and enjoys plenty of extra work to showcase their talents. Employers appreciate the “out-of-the-box” approach and want to hear what they have to say. Also, a Big Picture person wants to achieve as much as possible and won’t stop until they have everything on their bucket list marked off. So, you can expect them to be filled with big dreams and lots of ambition.
  • Benefits from Change – Sometimes, it’s easy to get comfortable with the same routine. However, that means you refuse to enjoy new experiences. A Big Picture person loves to try new things and welcomes change. They may be great at their job but continue to find new ways to make their job more efficient. Or, they are always making new friends and enjoying new places to visit. A Big Picture person never hates routine and flourishes with change.
  • Focused on the Future – It’s important to practice mindfulness and be thankful for what you have now. Although a Big Picture person can accomplish this mindset, they feel more comfortable thinking about the future. They plan major life events and focus on achieving what they want most. They may have their entire lives figured out. Such as graduating by 21, obtaining a dream job by 25, marriage at 30, and children at 32. They don’t focus on achieving these milestones but know they want to reach them.
  • Agreeable – A Big Picture person will always give you a chance to say your piece if it aligns with their goals. Meaning they agree with others that help them achieve their goals. They will accept advice and listen to other perspectives to improve their overall outcome. Because of this, a Big Picture person is great to work with and is easygoing in life. They don’t mind if plans change just as long as the outcome is the same.
  • Has Many Ideas – If you are stuck on a project, ask a Big Picture person for ideas. They are happy to manifest big ideas for the project. No matter what the task, they will try to make it better. Likewise, if you need to throw a party, then a Big Picture person is the one to call. They will actively want to throw the best party imaginable and offer plenty of creative ideas.

Cons for a Big Picture Person

  • Indecisive – Sure, dreaming big is an excellent characteristic. However, there are things that you must plan to achieve your dreams. If a Big Picture person does not take the proper steps to reach their goals, they won’t achieve anything. Instead, they bounce from one idea to the next without concluding.
  • Toxic Optimism – Being an optimistic person is a great attribute. Of course, too much of a good thing can become toxic. A Big Picture person only wants to think about the positive outcomes and never wonder about the adverse effects. A Big Picture person may shrug off a negative result and say, “It’ll be fine,” without actively putting in the effort to make it “fine.”
  • Disorganized – Since so much is going on in the brain of a Big Picture person, small details get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes they fall behind in work because they can’t focus or remember what they are supposed to do. A Big Picture person struggles with organization and preparedness because they are just focused on the outcome.

To Sum Up the Pros and Cons…

As you can see in the infographic below, there are plenty of Pros and minimal Cons for each personality trait.

How to Decide Between a Detail Oriented and Big Picture Person

It’s excellent to become mindful of your actions to better yourself. Although there are positives to both a Detailed Oriented and Big Picture person, do you find yourself more drawn to one vs. the other?

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You may decide to switch back and forward between the two. Either way, it’s not a permanent decision. Pick what trait is best for you, your life, and how you function. Do what makes you happy. Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide which trait you’d prefer…

To Become a Detail Oriented Person:

  • Do you want to show an improvement in your job?
  • Do you want to keep better track of your finances?
  • Do you want to build better relationships by remembering critical personal information?
  • Do you want a better working memory?
  • Do you want to keep your life and job organized?
  • Do you want the ability to follow a routine and stick to it?
  • Do you want to be prepared for the best and worst outcomes?
  • Do you want to focus on one task without any distractions?

To Become a Big Picture Person:

  • Do you want to be a more creative person?
  • Do you want to become a more ambitious person?
  • Do you want to approach projects in a new and exciting way?
  • Do you want to be a more open-minded person?
  • Do you want to experience new things?
  • Do you want to excel at your job by proving you can think ahead of competitors?
  • Do you want to think big without limitations?
  • Do you want to get the most out of life?

Final Thoughts on Detail Oriented vs Big Picture People

Look, you can’t go wrong with either trait. In fact, many employers look for some combination of these valuable traits in their employees. If you want to advance in your job, our article on 51 Affirmations for Career Success and Advancement may help you along. 

But before that, start here. Adopt these great traits, become a better employee and get through life effortlessly knowing who you are and what you want.

Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.

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