Time to Start Self-monitoring in the Workplace

Some people are always in trouble at work. They may be competent, hardworking and productive, but performance reviews tend to rate them as no better than average, and they seem to make a career of irritating managers.

This may be due to politically ineptness, where difficulties are experienced in adjusting their behaviour to fit changing situations.  We could describe these persons as low self-monitors.

Self-monitoring refers to an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behaviour to external, situational factors.

Individuals high in self-monitoring show considerable adaptability in adjusting their behaviour to external situational factors.  They are highly sensitive to external cues and can behave differently in different situations.

High self­-monitors are capable of presenting striking contradictions between their public persona and their private self.

High self-monitors tend to:

  • Pay closer attention to the behaviour of others and are more capable of conforming than are low self-monitors.
  • Receive better performance ratings, are more likely to emerge as leaders.
  • Be more mobile in their careers, receive more promotions (both internal and cross-organisational), and
  • Occupy central positions in an organisation

Low self-monitors, can’t disguise themselves in that way.  They tend to display their true dispositions and attitudes in every situation.  There is high behavioural consistency between who they are and what they do.  Behavioural consistency – although worthy in itself – backfires when empathy and sensitivity to the needs of others are not considered.

How would you rate yourself?

This topic has been taken from the module ‘Understanding Yourself’. It forms part of The Pivot Institutes non-accredited program – Fundamentals of Management. This program is often customised to suit our clients in large organisation who have a large number of individuals in managerial and supervisory roles.