To monitor or not to monitor – that is the question. Whatever the wrongs and rights of FIFA, as President of FIFA, was Sepp Blatter right to assert ‘I cannot monitor everyone all the time’? Here, two experienced senior team leaders, Rob and Claire, offer their different views on Blatter’s stance in relation to their approach with their own direct reports.
Rob: It is not always easy but you have to trust your people and give them lots of space and room to manoeuvre especially when you are dealing with experienced, senior players. I think it was a reasonable thing for Sepp Blatter to say for someone in such a senior leadership role. How can you monitor everyone? If you recruit and select majoring on values in the first place, the job is easier anyway. I do think the leader has a role to play in determining the culture that’s created though. You need to role model right and wrong constantly. That isn’t just an ‘in the office’ thing either. I think you have to live what you want from others if you are going to accept the privilege of leadership.
But if you know your people well enough, surely you don’t need to ‘monitor’ them?. Sure you’ll get let down every now and again but get the selection right, get to know your people well and role model the right way to do business. Then there should be no need to check or monitor.
Claire: I don’t think it was a reasonable thing for Sepp Blatter to say. It is not that you are ‘checking’ exactly but as a leader, you should be having an ongoing dialogue, staying in regular contact with people and in that way, you are monitoring their progress. There shouldn’t be much that your direct reports are involved with that you aren’t in touch with somewhere along the line. As a leader, your direct reports should be wanting to bounce their thinking off you. If they aren’t coming to you as an informal mentor, that probably says more about your relationships than anything. I’d worry if my guys weren’t coming to me in that way. You get a real feel for their thinking and likely actions that way.
And actually, I do think you occasionally need to check and monitor what people are doing. I see nothing wrong with that as long as you are open about the processes involved and why they exist. No one should be in any doubt about the rules and if people have nothing to hide, they’ll be glad the processes exist. Checking and monitoring should offer confidence that the company takes issues of integrity and ethics seriously.