Building Higher Trust 94 Excessive Monitoring Leads to Games

If you are monitoring your employees to ensure the highest productivity, you are really encouraging them to play games.

Don’t say you trust your people but do things that obviously reveal you do not. You cannot expect people to trust you.  The fundamental behavior that builds higher trust is consistency.  You must walk your talk.

Tracking remote employees

Do not employ some form of tracking system for remote employees to figure out who is working up to specification. If you do, there is no hope for you. You cannot convince people that you trust them when your actions reveal that you do not.

Words from a famous author

My friend, Stephen M.R. Covey says that “you cannot talk yourself out of a problem that you behaved your way into.” Words are inadequate to reverse the damage done by your actions.  

The games people play

The end result is that people in the organization will start playing games with you. They will figure out which things you can track and which ones are important actions that cannot be verified.

You will end up with a compliance mentality (bare minimum) rather than an excellence mentality. The quality of work will suffer. Eventually, you will end up sitting on a pile of resignations or employees who are quiet quitters.

For example, one company started tracking the number of keystrokes as a way to measure productivity. The employees learned to set up one of those pecking bird toys next to the keyboard. When they needed to use the bathroom, they were covered.  If your employees are finding novel ways to trick your tracking system, you have lost the war. The energy is lost in the creative ways to fool you.

Show real trust

Trust people to do what is in the best interest of the organization. You give them the freedom to chart their own course. It leads to much higher productivity in the end. People go the extra mile for people they trust.


In the best performing organizations, leaders don’t just talk about trusting their employees, they actually do it every day. The employees respond by doing more than they are expected to, and the entire process runs smoothly.


Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations



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