One of my followers on twitter (“Pete”) sent me a link the other day that blew me away. Well, it shouldn’t have surprised me, but somehow this stuff keeps surprising me anyway.
Pete was engaged in a lively discussion on his LinkedIn group about this topic: “Should managers trust their employees?” Most of the managers in his group were firmly on one side of the debate and poor Pete, the lone defender of TRUST, was on the other.
I started talking to Pete about this experience and really got sucked into the story. Some of the things these managers said about their employees were truly cringe-worthy (these are real quotes):
Spy away on employees; monitor their keystrokes and websites they visit.
Employees cannot be using company computers for personal use, not on my nickel!
One employer took away her employees’ (2) ten minute breaks because they not only used those 20 minutes, but they took additional breaks to use the restroom, chat with co-workers, and get coffee (!!!)
Employees should not be leaving early. There is always work to be done, so work is not over until 5:00.
If you give employees privileges, they will abuse it.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll spare you the dramatic details of how these managers swapped tips on spying on their employees and monitoring their every move. I just loved Pete’s response. He took a lot of heat in this discussion, and he makes a few key points worth sharing.
With all due respect, I’m glad I don’t work for you. ‘Spy away’? Really? I would find it very difficult to work for someone who does not trust me, and I wonder why you’ve hired people you obviously don’t trust. You’re paying employees to accomplish tasks. Is the employee performing his/her tasks well and on-time? If the answer is yes, then what is the problem? How is that employee “stealing?” If the answer is no, then again, there should be consequences. You can’t afford slackers. My point is that the focus should be on results, on getting the job done well and on-time, not on whether someone spent 10 minutes on Facebook.
You can imagine the flames Pete felt after that response. He was deemed naive, not in charge of anything important, and one person even said Pete “had a hole in his head.” In this group of about 10 managers, only 1 person was focused on results. Not babysitting, not spying, not making sure everyone was in their seats when the bell rang. Just results. Bravo, Pete! I agree with you. It’s much more productive to focus on results! Without trust, you’re wasting time and resources patrolling the hallways.
Should you spy?
What do you think? Spy on your employees, or trust them? I know you have some stories and we want to hear them!