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How to Control Employees at Work

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The workplace can be a chaotic environment where employees seem to take advantage of the kindhearted managers who are afraid to take the reigns. Getting control of a 'mad house' takes some initiative and resolute interaction. With minimal changes and some reevaluation of tactics, anyone who is in charge of employees can learn how to take control of the situation.

Reaffirm your working relationships. As a leader, you should reestablish the pecking order at work. Employees will take advantage of leadership that is afraid to lead or enforce rules. Letting the employees know where they stand will help coax some of them back to the middle without doing something drastic.

Perform a surprise evaluation. Employees often know when their performance evaluations are coming up and tend to 'butter the bread' when the time gets close to make up for instances when they were not on task. Performing a surprise evaluation without their knowledge will give them a realistic depiction of what they do when they are caught off guard. Allow the employees to see statistical evidence of work being performed to show proof because many will be left in disbelief without it.

Offer incentives. Everyone knows that you should be paid to do your job, and for those who wish to be marginal this is fine. Offering incentives will spur a positive reaction for those who are already performing above standard and pry others who are on the cusp to do a little bit more. Incentives like flex time, longer lunches, time off, casual clothes days and others can be used to get employees in line as well as boost productivity.

Separate problem employees. No, of course this doesn't mean to put them in the corner and make them wear dunce caps like children, but simply adjusting the seating in the workplace might help. Problem employees can come in different forms, such as friends who talk too much at work and whose conversations tend to get a little off task and possibly disrupt others. Separating these two factions may lower their morale slightly, but if they soon see that their performance has increased, (providing you do a prompt evaluation) since the split, they will be less likely to complain and can see the method behind the 'madness.'

Follow through on your rules. Make sure that you are not constantly making exceptions for anyone. Breaking a rule once may be an accident, but then some slight remedial training should be issued along with a verbal warning. Upon a second infraction, you should take a more serious approach. Making exceptions will show others favoritism and cause even more disruption amongst employees.

Motivate your employees to get to a positive end result. Motivation comes in many positive and negative forms, and in this instance positive forms of manipulation are required. For instance, offering encouragement in order to bolster someone to do better is a form of manipulation. Use these types of manipulations to manifest your control of employees at a workplace without playing mind games that will ultimately hinder their progress.


Deeper attention to detail must be adhered to in order to gather evidence that employees are out of control. Take the time to investigate the actions of employees before making assumptions. You may find that a problem has and easy fix or that it may run deeper than expected.


Refrain from going overboard in any situation. Going from very lenient to very strict immediately may cause more confusion or 'revolt' amongst employees and leadership. When changing rules, make it a gradual change or one that takes effect on a date that is known to all employees across the board. Give reasons why this change has come about to all employees so there is no cause for rumors.