Some call it eye service, some window dressing, and others, grandstanding. Irrespective of the name it bears, eye service is never a desirable behaviour to emulate. Eye service describes the behaviour of a person, who wants observers to have a false positive impression about him. It is usually used to depict behaviours of employees, who only perform their duties when their superiors, supervisors, or bosses are watching them. But, in addition to that, eye service also includes people that pretend to be well-informed and skilled just to impress their bosses.
As implied above, employees that engage in eye service do so for several reasons. One of these reasons is laziness. Another one is mischief. Then, there are those that do it because they don’t want to lose their jobs or receive punishments for their unproductiveness. Finally, there are those that act this way because they want to attract the attention of their bosses, hoping to win favours.
In the case of the first three groups, the concerned employees avoid their bosses because they want to remain invisible. These groups do not want their bosses to remember they exist in the office. All they care about is to receive their financial benefits, especially their salaries, and promotions. Any other incentives, such as assignment of special duties, assignment of company vehicles, and so on, are not their interests. These are the people described as “marking time”, because they don’t do anything that will help them or their employers to grow.
However, unlike the other groups, the last group is made up of employees that always seek the attention of their bosses. These are the ones that provide their bosses with information, ideas, opinions, and knowledge they gathered from colleagues without giving them credits. It is in this group that you find idea thieves and those who pull down their colleagues to climb up. It is from this group that “square pegs in round holes” emerge from.
Nevertheless, there is no form of eye service that is good. This is because the behaviour has detrimental effects on all the actors involved. Eye service affects those that practice it, their colleagues, and their employers. How these happen are discussed below.
- Its Effect on Affected Employees
Employees that practice eye service may not always know that it affects them negatively. Most of them think they are being smart until they find themselves redundant and almost on the way out. Their avoidance of duties keeps them away from learning their works, thereby causing them to remain stagnant. Those that steal their colleagues’ ideas to win favours put themselves at tight corners when their bosses give them responsibilities based on the impressions they have been creating. By the end of the day, these people lose when others are gaining. Of course, they might climb to the top, but they can’t remain there.
- Effects on Colleagues
No one wants a pretentious person in his team. This is because, apart from lying to cover up for them, having such a person creates extra work for team members. This puts stress on workers, whose bosses believe they have enough hands to handle assignments. Further, if a pretentious person is promoted (especially if made the supervisor of his team) or rewarded for “excellence”, his colleagues will feel cheated and dissatisfied with their work. This can cause conflicts in the workplace, which will in turn cause many workers to work haphazardly, complain about their works, engage in eye service, or resign.
- Effects on Employers
One way or the other, employers lose when their workers play eye service. Some of them are deceived into entrusting these people with crucial positions they cannot handle. Because these workers do not perform as they ought to, production becomes low and employers make less profit. Those put in positions they could not manage may end up making mistakes that could cost their organisation a lot. This is why employers should find ways of evaluating their employees before assigning them any duty.
Eye service can be found in all the sectors of the economy. However, it is commonly found in offices, where workers are not well supervised. This bad behaviour has done more harm than good and it affects all the people concerned. This is why employers should not hesitate to punish workers that engage in this type of behaviour so it will serve as a deterrent to others.