LEADERSHIP / JUL. 19, 2014
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How to Stay on Top of What your Employees are up to

Being a boss isn’t easy especially when your employees have conflicting opinions about you. First and foremost, how they regard you goes a long way in determining your level of awareness regarding staff affairs. While some will treat you like a popular politician, others will loathe you for your disciplinary strictness and the rest might be merely indifferent to your leadership tactics. Plus, you can’t always be certain what your employees are thinking of all the time because most of them usually fake smiles in the presence of their bosses. All in all, you want to stay on top of what your employees are up to. Here is how to achieve that.

#1 Create Accountability Mechanisms
Employees are likely to dodge you if there’s no mechanism through which you can make them accountable for their daily workplace affairs. However, the following accountability mechanisms can eradicate this vice:

  • You can use performance contracts to keep them in check and thus ensure that they stick to company affairs. 
  • You can also draft a performance review to help employees assess themselves and thus fine-tune their daily workplace affairs towards more constructive and productive goals. 
  • Besides the individual performance accountability parameters, every department should also have its own unique accountability mechanisms to curb resource wastage and prevent any loopholes that might encourage corrupt malpractices.

#2 Be Social, Accessible and Approachable
In addition to establishing accountability mechanisms, you’ve also got to steer clear from introvert tendencies, a habit that many bosses today are fond of. Being confined to your own office space will only make you a suspicious and antisocial leader with trust issues. To conquer this, you can:

  • Roam the office once in a while and spare some few minutes to sit down and talk to one or two employees. 
  • Engage with them over a cup of coffee during breaks or after work.
  • Interact with them during Company Social Events.
  • Invite them with their families to your place for weekend picnics, games and other fun activities. However, this should be at the discretion of company policy.

By doing this, they’ll get the impression that you’re social and they’ll be more than eager to approach you in your office and tell you what they’re up to. However, it all boils down to whether you’re approachable. For example, if you’re harsh and arrogant when criticizing employees, then don’t expect warm gestures any time soon.

#3 Win loyalty Employees through Sound Leadership
For an employee to trust you with crucial information, you’ve got to earn that trust by carefully calculating your leadership steps. In doing so, you should consider the following:

  • Avoid showing favour to some employees, since being unbiased; levels the playing field amongst them.
  • Consequently, when you avoid giving favours, employees will realise that snitching and spying on each other won’t earn them any preferential treatment and so chances of being fed with hyped and falsified reports are greatly dwindled.
  • Once employees realise that no one is being pampered, they’ll always respect and trust your judgement despite the fact that they might not actually like you in the first place.
  • They’ll thus see no need in hoarding crucial information since their love and hate towards you has been made indifferent by the respectful leadership you propagate in daily decision making.

#4 Humbly Accept Constructive Criticism and Reasonable Opinions to Encourage Feedback
How do you react when you’re criticised by a junior employee? Do you get angry and feel uneasy? Do you discredit such criticism and opinion then turn around and take all the credit during staff meetings?

  • Unfortunately, in a bid to pull off a flawless streak, many bosses prefer to play God and this generates a sense of rage amongst employees.
  • Consequently, the employees feel disrespected and thus they deliberately decide to become more dishonest and secretive.
  • What you don’t realise is that you’ve triggered a secretive campaign as employees begin to plot behind your back on ways to bring you down.


#5 Study Employee Mood Swings, Energy variations and Key Psychological Tendencies
To understand employee psychological tendencies, you’ll have to fine-tune your instinctual senses:

  • Body language will tell you whether your employees are happy or disgruntled. You can learn this through their reactions when they’re handling tasks or their facial expressions when they’re interacting with each other.
  • You can observe sudden changes in their moods and energy levels especially when they’re unaware of your presence. Indeed, if you’re keen enough, you can look beyond the familiar fake smiles and see what’s really going on in their minds.
  • As an added advantage, such skills will require for you to form acquaintance with a psychology professional or even try out a vocational course in psychology and human behaviour.

Though it’s essential to stay informed about what employees are up to, it’s also necessary to give the same in return. Bosses that tend to be secretive obliviously create a gaping void that pushes them further away from such information. However, being open, honest and integral about your affairs not only justifies your intentions, but it also bridges boss-employee relations for the overall benefit of the company.

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