(Devil is in the Detail is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Devil is in the Detail
This idiom has a simple meaning: A task or project that appears simple on the surface usually has unknown difficulties.
Used correctly, this one is mildly annoying. However, when your manager utters it, it becomes especially irritating. The most prevalent use (and overuse) of devil is in the detail – where it’s morphed to only mean nefarious intentions – makes us cringe.
Of course, its cringe-worthiness turns exponential when your manager shoehorns devil is in the detail anywhere he or she likes. Once an annoying manager hears devil is in the detail spoken for the first time, he or she latches onto it and suddenly the devil is in the detail… every detail… of every project, task, or contract.
No longer is anything as it seems because, of course, the devil is in the detail.
Your manager uses this one so often you’re not even sure what it means – you just know it’s coming out of his/her mouth at least once per meeting.
Given this, we suppose your manager could be partially correct – certainly, every meeting starts to feels like you’re in hell.
Replacement phrases: No replacement needed; just stop saying it.
See also: It’s All in the Details; Lost in the Sauce
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon