You’ll find a lot of management tools today that claim to let you ‘monitor your team’. And you’ll also come across countless blogs that throw out tips on monitoring your team’s every action.
But does your team even need monitoring?
Sometimes you have to let your teams make some mistakes, even when you know how to avoid them. Because that’s how teams learn and grow. They have to find their own way to getting things done and it might not always move parallel with your ways.
When you start monitoring every action in your team, you create an environment where teams aren’t allowed to make mistakes because they are being watched over.
But what you do not realise is that constant monitoring is demoralising and counter-intuitive. The desire to keep everything under your control is what creates problems in the long run.
Let’s dig deeper
Monitoring teams – Pros
Like everything else in the world, there are advantages and disadvantages to everything, including monitoring the team. When done right, monitoring can help your teams work better. But sometimes managers cannot clearly define the line between appropriate and over monitoring.
Let’s look at some pros.
- You have greater control over operations and team actions
- It is easier to train teams to adapt to your culture
- Clear communication and clarity in work
- Teams always stay on track
Monitoring teams – Cons
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. And it is clear that cons overshadow the pros here.
- Demotivates and annoys team members
- Isn’t a scalable model for teams
- Damages team’s trust
- Makes team members more dependent on you
- Leads to manager (and team) burnout
- Makes team members more vulnerable to errors
- Makes managers lose sight of the long term goals
So what should you do?
Monitoring teams sounds good in theory. But in practice it often results in limiting team members to be more innovative and make their own decisions.
Think of the last time your performance was monitored by your superiors in the workplace. How did that make you feel?
That’s exactly how your team feels when you introduce something as a way of monitoring them.
Remember that narrative is key here. It can make or break your team. Your team will perceive a tool how you want them to, if you do it right.
You have to find a way to accomplish all the advantages of monitoring your team without making them feel like they are in a race. A way where monitoring does not do more harm than good.
A good way to achieve this is by finding a solution keeping your problem in mind. For most managers who monitor their teams, they just need more control over their team’s work. But their solution has some gaps within.
If you analyse the pros and cons of monitoring teams closely, you’ll realise that management tools can help you achieve all the pros, without the cons.
You can have higher control over your team’s operations without making them feel like they are being watched over. You can track everyone’s work without following up. And you can even ensure clarity in communication without sending 10 emails everyday.
You no longer have to play good cop/bad cop with your team members because some tools can enable you to track your team’s work while allowing them to work independently.
Management tools make better teams
Contrary to popular belief, management tools aren’t supposed to send a reminder every hour on delayed work, nor should they rank your team’s performance.
Tools are built to help teams stay more organised and focused. They allow the space required for your team members to grow and carve out their own paths.
Tools should be implemented to improve your team’s overall performance, not to overlook it.
Every report, dashboard, and analytic provided by a tool for your team should be an insight to their progress. And it is essential for you to understand that to create a healthy and positive team environment.