top of page

Ownership VS Clock Watching

If you are a business leader, business owner, HR decision maker, or even a professional who is not yet at any managerial level you more than likely prefer to work or lead the type of colleague who takes initiative, is passionate about their work, and present in the moment and eager to contribute versus someone who is just there to cross tasks off of a to-do-list and collect a check. Clock watchers are no asset to any company.

I am not spending my energy motivating grown and fully capable clock watchers to find their passion and their fuel. However, I do want to challenge leaders to do what they can to attract and retain team members who are independent and take ownership in their roles. I would also like to help decision makers identify what markers may help identify and avoid potential clock watchers in their talent pipeline.

How to Identify a Clock Watcher

In many cases a clock watcher can blend in with their competitive, high quality colleagues. They are smart, show up to work on time, remain physically present, complete necessary tasks. Clock watchers are not incompetent. But they don’t excel. If you have team members who play it safe and don’t bring any inspiration or innovation to the table you have identified your clock watchers. You can coach them to become more or you can challenge them to produce more. Produce is an intimidating word for someone who is just going through the motions. If you keep encouraging and expecting a higher level of production they will see themselves out; it simply is not what they signed up for.

During the hiring process you can spot potential clock watchers on paper. Look for the following on their resumé:

  • Jobs held for short periods of time

  • Jobs held for long periods of time but hold little or no promotion or recognition

  • Resumés that list generic skills but make no mention of implementation or track records of success

How to Attract a Team Who Takes Ownership

If you want your organization to thrive and standout in your industry make sure your team is stacked with innovators who understand your vision and are dedicated to pushing it forward. I have said it several times before and I mean it- YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER TO TAKE OWNERSHIP. Yes, you can be a boss without being the boss. Your team will prosper when it consists of people who don’t seek constant instruction and hand holding. When everyone understands they are a unique and a crucial part to the long-term success of the entity magic will happen!

You can attract and encourage those with an ownership mentality by:

  • Offering rewards and bonuses to those who produce more than expected.

  • Openly praise and reward those who solve problems.

  • Take a step back. Be available as a leader but don’t chime in first or rush to always make it happen yourself. Give them a chance to shine.

  • Provide a clear path and support to the executive suite of career positions.

  • As a professional if you are seeking more ways to take ownership and become a better asset to your company consider trying the following:

  • Learn more! The more you know about your field and position the more you can offer. Read, study, and apply all new knowledge to your daily job functions.

  • Give yourself a weekly goal or marker of a way you want to benefit your company. This will keep you from leaning on former success. You have to be current and produce often.

  • Monopolize on one skill. You can be a professional of many talents but find the one thing you do better than anyone else and capitalize on it. This is how you will leave your footprint at work.

Taking ownership of your role and responsibilities at work is smart, bold, and increases job security. Staffing your team with those who hold an ownership mentality increases your organization’s longevity security. Smart people lead. Produce, lead, thrive, and build it’s what we do!

If this inspires you and you want more thoughtful commentary and discussions on leadership, success, professionalism, and more subscribe to my YouTube Channel:

68 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Header Image.png
S  Dallas Dance, Ph D HR METAL.png



As a speaker and author, my focus is to train emerging and seasoned leaders to align strategy with equity, change and communication.

bottom of page