How Managers Monitor and Control Worker Behavior

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Managers have to monitor the activities of their team and the external forces. Without that monitoring, you won't know whether your plan is working or if it needs to be adjusted. Then, managers must control those elements that they can control to keep everyone moving toward the goal.

In the control task, you monitor the work being done, you compare the actual progress of the plan and you verify that the organization is working as you designed it. If everything is going well, you won't need to do anything but monitor. However, that seldom happens. Someone gets sick; the iteration of each database sort takes longer than projected; a key competitor drops their prices; a fire destroys the building next door and you have to evacuate for several days, or some other factor impacts your plan.

The control step now dictates that you have to take action to minimize the impact and brings things back to the desired goal as quickly as possible.

That means going back to the planning stage and adjusting plans. This may require a change in the organization and re-directing team members toward the new goals. Then, control the new plan and adjust if needed. This cycle continues until you complete the task.

Some Additional Aspects of Monitor and Control

  • Keeping Score Isn't Winning: There is no point in monitoring if you don't take action based on the information. Don't just keep track. Make sure you are measuring the right things and then take appropriate action to fix whatever problems the measurements point out.
  • You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure: Unless you measure something, you don't know if it is getting better or worse. You cannot manage for improvement if you don't measure to see what is getting better and what is getting worse. This article helps you know how and what to measure.
  • Don’t Let Process Get in the Way of Results: While this article specifically addresses the issue of overplanning, it also applies to the monitoring task. Don't focus so much on the monitoring task that you don't take control and make the changes that are necessary.
  • Employee Coaching: When to Step In: A good manager will always monitor what their employees are doing, but will not intervene to coach their employees except in specific circumstances. Knowing when to let an employee make a mistake they can learn from and when you need to step in and coach them is a balancing act. You have to balance their opportunity to learn and grow against the harm they could do to themselves, their team, and the company.
  • Giving Negative Feedback: When a manager needs to step in and control the activity of the team or an individual it is often necessary to give negative feedback. Be sure to do it properly as outlined here.
  • Monitor Your Team's Progress: For many, project management is their first management role. In the steps to successful project management, we also see the task of monitoring the team.
  • Your Boss Is Watching You: Managers have an obligation to their company to monitor the activities of their employees to ensure compliance with applicable laws and policies. You monitor their behavior, their adherence to the dress code, the way they greet customers. The need to monitor their electronic activities is equally as great and the reasons are the same. Be sure to let employees know that they are being monitored. Let them know what is being monitored and why. Let them know what is acceptable and what is not.