Big Brother Is Watching

Zig Ziglar on

Concern is often expressed about the intrusion of big government into Joe Citizen's life. I can be numbered among those who share frustrations that, in today's electronic era, virtually nothing is sacred or secret.

However, what concerns me most is the watchful eye of the overzealous authoritarian figure in the workplace. I say this because the sure death of a healthy working environment is to monitor everything trusted employees are doing. Having someone always looking over one's shoulder stifles creativity, hinders productivity and slows growth in the marketplace.

I hasten to add this is not true in all cases with everyone. For example, a research team led by Harvard creativity guru Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., asked an undergraduate group with varying degrees of writing talent to pen a story about being a particular age. Half were told their tale would be judged by others; the rest were told it didn't matter how well they did. All the stories were rated for creativity, but the results were surprising in many ways. Highly skilled writers wrote less creative stories under the pressure of criticism, but their less-skilled classmates were actually more inventive when evaluations were expected.

Researchers concluded that the talented writers were already highly motivated and were consistently doing their best, while the less talented ones had low motivation to begin with, and the threat of evaluation actually stimulated their inspiration and creativity.


Here's the message: Leave your highly creative workers on their own. Advise the less creative workers they will be evaluated, and be consistent in your follow-through. This way, both groups will do better. That certainly should give you something to smile about.


To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at Subscribe to Zig Ziglar's free email newsletter through



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