Checking in With Employees (Versus Checking Up)


Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer: Checking in With Employees (Versus Checking Up).

A good article from the authors of one of favourite business reads of this year called “The Progress Principle.”

The heart of the article is well captured in the title – how can we distinguish between checking in an checking up and what is the distinction between the two.  The former has the potential to be empowering and the latter, is much closer, in their words, to suffocation.  I find it very helpful that they give ideas on how to get more to the “checking in” mindset with the suggested questions below.

“If you are mostly asking employees whether they finished this task or that task, then you are checking up on them. If you are constantly monitoring how people achieve their goals, then you are checking up. This is classic micromanagement, which makes people feel that their judgment, talents, and skills are not valued; it also constrains experimentation. As a result, it kills both motivation and creativity.

Instead, try asking questions like, “What do you need to get this project done?” “Is anything getting in your way?” or “What can I do to help out?” In this way, you can check in with people and find out how their projects are going without making them feel as if they are under constant surveillance. And, more importantly, you will be in a much better position to provide your people with the resources and help that they really need.”


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